Coming up to six years after Britons voted to leave the European Union, the UK Government established a new ministerial role – handed to Jacob Rees-Mogg – for Brexit Opportunities. But a backbencher has claimed the actions of French President Mr Macron alone prove Brexiteers were “right all along”.
Ahead of the referendum, many ‘Leave’ campaigners warned a vote to ‘Remain’ would risk attaching the UK to a more centralised Brussels Government further down the line.
Lord Daniel Hannan, then a Tory MEP and now a member of the House of Lords, wrote in his 2016 book “Why Vote Leave”: “Voting to stay in the EU is not the same as voting to stay where we are.”
Now Tory MP and member of the eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG) Mark Francois has argued this has only become more clear since the UK left.
Responding to questions from Express.co.uk readers, he said: “Mr Macron is personally committed to an increasingly Federalised EU, which may yet evolve over the next few years.”
The French President was elected in 2017, one year after Britons voted to leave the EU and so before his vision of a more centralised bloc was well known.
Mr Francois added: “If the EU really does try to become a Federal state, in which individual nations are completely subsumed, that would only serve to underline that the ERG and the wider Brexiteer movement were right all along.”
Mr Macron appears in recent months to have been more critical of the EU than in the past.
He has even suggested some powers currently held by Brussels ought to be returned to Paris.
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Some French officials close to the President now fear, however, he may not win re-election.
Political scientist Pascal Perrineau, quoted in the Financial Times, warned: “There’s none of the Macron novelty there was before.
“Now he belongs to the old world.”
Mr Macron’s own Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, said National Rally leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is “dangerous” for the President because she is appealing to certain voters he is failing to reach.
He added “she can win this election”, which would undoubtedly put alleged plans for greater EU federalisation on hold.
Mrs Le Pen does not support what has been dubbed ‘Frexit’ but she is far more wary of France having what she would deem to be too close a relationship with the bloc than Mr Macron, who remains the electoral frontrunner.
While Mr Francois celebrated the vindication of Brexiteers, he stressed there was “still more work to do” to ensure Brexit benefits are carried out to their full, particularly in Northern Ireland.