Boris Johnson tells Emmanuel Macron to ‘get a grip’ and ‘donnez-moi un break’ over defence pact
Boris Johnson has told Emmanuel Macron to “get a grip” and “donnez-moi un break” after France’s furious reaction to the UK’s defence pact with the US and Australia.
Paris has branded last week’s Aukus agreement a “stab in the back” because it involved Canberra ditching a 56bn euro deal for French diesel-electric submarines, in favour of nuclear-powered vessels from the US.
French ambassadors were recalled from Washington and Canberra, and a senior minister in the Macron administration said that the same response was not meted out to London only because Britain was a “junior partner” in the deal.
Mr Johnson earlier this week tried to soothe French anger by insisting that Macron had no reason to worry about the Aukus deal and declaring his “ineradicable” love and admiration for Britain’s cross-Channel neighbour.
But speaking in Washington today, he took a more belligerent line, expressing irritation with the French stance.
Breaking into Franglais in a way which might have calculated to offend Gallic pride, the prime minister said: “I just think it’s time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip about this and donnez-moi un break.
“Because this is fundamentally a great step forward for global security. It’s three very like-minded allies standing shoulder to shoulder creating a new partnership for the sharing of technology. It’s not exclusive. It’s not trying to shoulder anybody out. It’s not adversarial towards China for instance.”