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Boris "insults" Italian minister in prosecco squabble

17th Nov 16 10:39 am

What did the former London mayor say?

Former London mayor Boris Johnson has been accused of “insulting” an Italian minister in an argument over prosecco or fish and chips. 

The UK foreign secretary landed in hot water after suggesting Italy should back a generous post-EU deal to avoid losing sales of the sparkling wine.

But Italian economic development minister Carlo Calenda said Johnson’s approach to EU withdrawal appeared to be based on “wishful thinking”.

Calenda told Bloomberg TV: “His idea is ‘We want to have access to the common market without giving you access in terms of free circulation of people’, and I think this is wishful thinking.

“His answer was ‘OK, but you are selling a lot of what we call prosecco in the UK and you will allow us to do this because you don’t want to lose prosecco exports’.

“I said ‘Maybe we’re going to lose some prosecco, you’re going to lose some fish and chips exports. 

Calenda added: “My perception is that there is a lot of confusion and this is still an issue ofinternal political debate of the UK, which to be honest is not acceptable.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “The foreign secretary’s comments reflect the strength of the trading relationship between the UK and Italy.

“We’re looking to ensure this continues as we depart the EU.”

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