G7 summit closes with Boris Johnson embroiled in Brexit row

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference on the final day of the G7 summit in Cornwall.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference on the final day of the G7 summit in Cornwall.

Emmanuel Macron reportedly suggested Northern Ireland was not part of the UK during his talks with Mr Johnson

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Boris Johnson repeatedly told European Union leaders the United Kingdom was “indivisible”, as Dominic Raab claimed they had been “offensive” by suggesting Northern Ireland was not part of the country.

The comments came after Emmanuel Macron reportedly suggested Northern Ireland was not part of the UK during his talks with Mr Johnson in the margins of the G7 summit.

At a close-of-summit press conference in Cornwall, Mr Johnson said: “Of course we make the point continuously we are part of one great, indivisible United Kingdom.”

He added: “What I am saying is that we will do whatever it takes to protect the territorial integrity of the UK, but actually what happened at this summit was there was a colossal amount of work on subjects that have absolutely nothing to do with Brexit.”

US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron attend a plenary session, during the G7 summit.
US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron attend a plenary session, during the G7 summit.

Mr Macron used his G7 summit press conference to call for calm – but also insisted the terms of the Brexit deal must be honoured.

“I’m doing things very calmly,” he said.

“I believe that as far as this subject matter is concerned everybody has got to come back to reason.

“My wish, my will is that we succeed – we succeed collectively – to put into operation what we decided upon a few months ago.”

Earlier Mr Raab told Sky News: “We have serially seen senior EU figures talk about Northern Ireland as if it was some kind of different country to the UK. It is not only offensive, it has real world effects on the communities in Northern Ireland, creates great concern, great consternation.

“Could you imagine if we talked about Catalonia, the Flemish part of Belgium, one of the lander in Germany, northern Italy, Corsica in France as different countries? We need a bit of respect here.”

Mr Raab told Times Radio: “There was more than one senior European figure talking about this at this summit and I’ve heard it for years now.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab gestures during an interview at the G7 summit.
Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab gestures during an interview at the G7 summit.

“And the truth is Northern Ireland cannot be talked about as a separate country to the UK. It’s offensive. And that kind of approach speaks volumes. That is one of the reasons we have the problems we do with the Northern Ireland Protocol, because there isn’t a proper appreciation and there’s been a lopsided approach.”

When asked about the Foreign Secretary’s comments, Mr Johnson said: “What I am saying is that we will do whatever it takes to protect the territorial integrity of the UK, but actually what happened at this summit was there was a colossal amount of work on subjects that have absolutely nothing to do with Brexit.”

The row risked overshadowing the G7 summit, but Mr Johnson insisted it had taken up only a small part of the time in Carbis Bay.

“The vast, vast majority of the conversations that we have had over the last three or four days have been about other subjects and there has been a fantastic degree of harmony between the leaders of our countries.”