France likely to use border checks as ‘political tool’ after no-deal Brexit – Hammond

FILE PHOTO: British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond delivers a speech at the annual Mansion House dinner in London, June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Pool/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – France is likely to threaten delays on its border with Britain to exert political leverage if there is a no-deal Brexit, British finance minister Philip Hammond said on Wednesday.

Hammond, who has repeatedly called on fellow Conservatives to rule out leaving the European Union without a transition deal to smooth border arrangements and other issues, repeated his view that a no-deal Brexit would cause major economic damage.

A high proportion of British exports and imports to and from the rest of Europe travels between Dover in southeast England and Calais in northern France, and British businesses have warned of shortages of imports if there are delays.

While France is technically capable of managing the customs checks needed for a relatively smooth flow of goods and vehicles after a no-deal Brexit, it might choose not to for political reasons, Hammond said in an interview with broadcaster I


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