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Boris Johnson ready to slap tit-for-tat tariffs on champagne in trade war with stubborn EU chiefs

STUBBORN EU chiefs were warned they will be the biggest losers if they trigger a trade war with Britain.

Boris Johnson is ready to slap tit-for-tat tariffs on their most prized exports — with champagne top of his hit list.

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The PM is looking at options as Brussels threatens reprisals over his bid to tear up parts of the Brexit divorce deal.

French wine, including fizz, German cars, Italian shoes, luxury clothing and even Irish beef could all be clobbered by hefty tariffs.

A senior Whitehall source said: “A trade war is a major concern. We hope it doesn’t come to this but are considering all options in the event the EU should start one.”

Senior officials insist they will not be bullied in knife-edge talks involving EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

They are confident the swiftly clinched trade deal with Japan will be followed by more.

It is estimated that EU countries would be forced to pay £13billion in tariffs on their products if the Brexit process ends without a deal — while UK would pay just £5billion.

Britain is the second biggest importer of French wine and the biggest importer of champagne, buying 27million bottles a year.

Mr Johnson said his last-ditch changes were needed to avoid handing Brussels the “power to carve up our country”.

Top Tories have joined with other leading Brexiteers to demand the Withdrawal Agreement is binned completely.

One said: “We’ve nothing to fear from no deal. If the EU pick a fight over trade, they’ll come off worse.”

The PM faces a backbench revolt over his changes.

Tory rebels warned their stance was hardened by a rallying speech he made in a Zoom call with 250 MPs on Friday.

Ex-PMs Sir John Major and Tony Blair united to urge them to reject the legislation, saying it imperils the Irish peace process, trade talks and the UK’s integrity.

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