Theresa May: I’ll put trade deals and immigration first to get Britain the best EU deal

The two men met earlier this month in Brussels at a meeting of EU foreign ministers and met yesterday in Paris for their first one-to-one talks where main topics included terrorism and Channel border controls.

Mr Johnson made no reference to their earlier differences as – after modestly denying he was proficient in French – he read a prepared statement in the language declaring: “I hope I have been clear that even if the UK has voted to leave the EU, it doesn’t mean that we will be leaving Europe.

“We wish to be as close as possible to our allies, most particularly France, throughout the forthcoming years.”

Thanking Mr Ayrault, he went on: “We have already started to develop a close and co-operative relationship and I hope it may continue while we face many challenges ahead together as friends and allies.”

The talks came two days after an elderly priest was murdered in Normandy by men pledging allegiance to so-called Islamic State, and Mr Johnson pledged British “solidarity” with France.

Former French PM Mr Ayrault thanked his guest for “solidarity and support” following the recent terror outrages in France, which also include the mowing down of dozens of people by a lorry driver in Nice.

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