THE new owner of a bakery has sent some of its award-winning bread to Chief EU Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier.

Journalist-turned-businessman Mark Dexter co-owns The Great Northern Bakehouse, based in Morton Park, Darlington, and wanted to show Mr Barnier that British sourdough has just as much to offer as French baguettes.

A hamper had been sent to Mr Barnier just days ago from independent MEP Steven Woolfe and other leading UK MEP Brexiteers containing a selection of British delicacies, such as cheddar cheese and Marmite.

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Mr Dexter wanted to prove that sending bread to France is not like sending coal to Newcastle, and hopes to show people that his quality goods are born and ‘bread’ in the UK.

“We thought it was great to see a delegation of British MEPs giving Mr Barnier a taste of British products. We’ve got lots to be proud of in this country and we should be telling people about what we do and what we make,” said Mr Dexter.

He did, however, have some qualms about the items in the gift basket.

“When you looked at the list of food stuffs it was a pretty sorry collection really. I mean there was cheddar cheese – for goodness sake, we were giving cheddar cheese to a Frenchman.

“Where we’re interested it comes down to quality artisan breads and there were no breads in there, so I was thinking that we should send Michel Barnier some quality British bread.”

The bakery was taken over by Mr Dexter and four other investors a year ago. Its sourdough won a bronze award last October at the Tiptree World Bread Awards, beating competitors from Italy, Germany – and even France itself.

In a letter that bared “no ill feelings”, the bakery owner told Mr Barnier: “Perhaps you might munch on a slice of sourdough whilst you’re chewing things over with Mr Davies.

“Indeed, maybe the two of you could break bread together?”

Paying £70 next-day delivery by courier, Mr Dexter hopes that his loaf will stay fresh enough to get a rise out of Mr Barnier.

He added: “We’re not holding our breath, but it would be nice to know that Michel tried our bread and liked what he saw. Although I’m sure that he has much bigger fish to fry.”