‘We understand each other’ Boris in tense phone call with Macron after French border shock

Boris Johnson reveals Macron 'understands' UK position

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a Downing Street press conference on the coronavirus crisis and blockages at Dover: “We are working with our friends across the Channel to unblock the flow of trade as fast as possible. And the Government at all levels is communicating with our friends in Paris. I have just spoken to President Macron, we had a very good call. And we both understand each other’s positions and want to resolve these problems as fast as possible.”

He added: “I want to stress we in the UK fully understand the anxieties of our friends about Covid.

“Their anxieties about the news variant but its also true that the risks of transmission by a solitary driver sitting alone in the cab are really very low.

“We hope to make the process as fast as we possibly can.

“I want to repeat these delays only apply to a very small percentage of food entering the UK and as British supermarkets have said, their supply chains are strong and robust so everyone can continue to shop normally.

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“To our international friends and partners, I want to say very frankly that we understand your concerns and I hope that everybody can see that as soon as we were briefed in the UK Government in the fast transmissibility of this new strain, we lodged all the necessary information with the World Health Organisation.

“We took prompt and decisive action the very next day to curb the spread of the new variant within the UK.

“We want to work with our colleagues, with our friends around the world to develop new treatments and to develop new vaccines.”

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It comes as Britons rushed to supermarkets on Monday to stock up for Christmas after stricter pandemic rules meant last-minute changes to their plans and as countries closed borders to Britain, raising fears of supply shortages.

On traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year, large queues snaked around some Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, Aldi and Lidl stores, according to Reuters reporters across London.

Many shoppers were buying traditional Christmas fare, or adapting it after Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed stricter measures from Sunday which have stopped many families meeting up and pushed people to rush to buy food for their own gatherings.

“Sunday was exceptionally busy – today has gone bananas,” said one supermarket manager.

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At Waitrose in Clapham, many shoppers had planned to leave London to see family for the festive period but were now stocking up for a Christmas in the capital.

Meat and milk were sold out in some supermarkets but traditional panic buying targets such as baked beans and pasta were in good supply.

Gaps will start to appear on British supermarket shelves within days if transport ties with mainland Europe are not quickly restored, Sainsbury’s warned on Monday.

Sainsbury’s said all products for “the Great British Christmas lunch” were already in the country and it had plentiful supplies of these.

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