French President Emmanuel Macron told aides the PM was in charge of ‘the same circus’, according to the French press
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French President Emmanuel Macron has privately branded Boris Johnson “un clown” in charge of “a circus”.
Relations between London and Paris have been in the deep freeze for months over post-Brexit fishing rights and migrants Channel crossings.
It emerged that Mr Macron had snapped after coming off the phone to the Prime Minister.
The pair held talks about last week’s tragedy in the Dover Strait, when at least 27 people died trying to reach the UK.
According to the magazine Le Canard Enchaine, Mr Macron claimed his counterpart had “the attitude of a vulgarian”.
He added: “BoJo talks to me at full speed, everything is going fine, we have discussions like big people, and then he gives us a hard time before or afterwards in an inelegant way.
Steve Reigate Daily Express)
“It’s always the same circus.”
The situation worsened after Mr Johnson published on Twitter a letter he had written to the French leader, demanding action to crackdown on illegal Channel crossings.
Mr Macron is reported to have said: “It is sad to see a major country with which we could do huge numbers of things, led by a clown.”
He is said to have added: “ Brexit is the starting point of the Johnson circus.”
Mr Johnson’s spokesman said he had not seen the report.
Asked if “the Prime Minister considers himself a clown, and does he consider the French President a clown”, the PM’s spokesman added: “The important thing that the public on both sides of the Channel want us to do is to focus on how we avoid further loss of life.”
Earlier, former French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann told Times Radio that cross-Channel relations had “never been as bad since Waterloo” – the 1815 battle where the Duke of Wellington’s men routed Napoleon’s forces.
Asked about comments from former French ambassador Sylvie Bermann, who joked on that ties had not been this bad since Waterloo, the spokesman said: “We continue to have very close relationships with the French Government and our French counterparts and we will continue to work with them on a number of issues, including on the issue of small boats.”
Asked if the pair were friends, the spokesman said: “The Prime Minister’s been asked about this on a number of occasions and has talked about his close relationship, working relationship with President Macron.”