Boris Johnson is heading to his first international summit as prime minister – and meetings with Donald Trump, the EU and other world leaders on the agenda.

International issues such as climate change, inequality and security are likely to dominate the three-day G7 summit in the French seaside town of Biarritz.


But it will also be a chance for Mr Johnson to talk Brexit and trade on the global stage.

He is expected to tell the US president that the NHS will not be on the table in any future trade deal.

Speaking ahead of the summit in southern France, the prime minister said some people “question” the UK’s choice to leave the EU and fear it will cause the country to “retreat from the world”.

But he insisted those who “think Britain’s best days are behind us” are “gravely mistaken” – adding that the UK will “remain at the heart of the alliances that span the world”.

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The event is Mr Johnson’s first international summit in the job and will bring him face to face with Mr Trump.

In a phone call last night ahead of the meeting on Friday night, the two men discussed foreign policy and global trade.

When they sit down on Sunday, talk is expected to turn to the possibility of a post-Brexit free trade agreement, with Boris Johnson expected to tell the president that the NHS and animal welfare standards will need to be protected in the negotiations.

The summit will also see Mr Johnson’s first meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk.

Downing Street has been playing down any chance of a Brexit breakthrough, with the prime minister warning on Friday that people should “not hold their breath” for progress any time soon.

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech on environment and social equality to business leaders on the eve of the G7 summit, on August 23, 2019 in Paris
G7 Summit host, French President Emmanuel Macron, wants the environment high on the agenda

The summit host, French President Emmanuel Macron, has already sought to put the environment on the agenda calling for leaders to discuss how to tackle fires in the Amazon rainforest.

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But that’s one of a number of topics that could cause arguments between Mr Trump and other world leaders.

Security and economic issues, such as how to handle Iran and Russia as well as the ongoing trade war between China and the US, may also prove to be flashpoints.

Speaking to Sky News, former diplomat Sir Ivor Roberts said Mr Johnson’s attempts to get a Brexit deal may cause him to “tack towards the Europeans” and away from Mr Trump.

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“On relations with Iran for instance, America is out of step with all of its European allies and… Boris Johnson will want to side with the Europeans,” Sir Ivor said.

People board up the windows of a real estate agency in Bayonne, south-west France on August 23, 2019, ahead of expected protests on the sidelines of the annual G7 Summit in attended by the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States
Shops in the south of France are preparing for expected protests during the summit

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the prime minister’s “Trump first policy” risked putting the UK “at the mercy of a US administration that threatens peace, prosperity and the future of our planet”.

Protesters have already arrived in the south of France and are setting up a “counter-summit” to discuss the environment and capitalism.

Speaking in Biarritz, Cecile Duflot, director general of Oxfam France, said “inequalities and climate change are two fires on the planet” adding they are “big threats for us all”.

Campaigners are being kept away from the world leaders by more than 13,000 police officers alongside soldiers and drones.



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