UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has come under fire for comparing the French president to a Nazi prison guard giving ‘punishment beatings’ to Britain for trying to ‘escape’ the EU.
Speaking in India, Johnson appeared to liken Francois Hollande to a World War II German soldier, in a move which is likely to further alienate France ahead of Brexit negotiations.
“If Mr. Hollande wants to administer punishment beatings to anybody who seeks to escape [the EU], in the manner of some World War II movie, I don’t think that is the way forward, and it’s not in the interests of our friends and partners,” the foreign secretary said as quoted by the Independent.
“It seems absolutely incredible to me that, in the 21st century, member states of the EU should be seriously contemplating the reintroduction of tariffs or whatever to administer punishment to the UK.”
MPs across the political spectrum criticized Johnson for the remarks, which were branded “distasteful” by some.
“Given that we and the French were on the same side in World War II and remain allies in NATO, he could have used a better choice of language to make a reasonable point,” said fellow Conservative MP Bob Neill, secretary of the all-party parliamentary group on France, the paper reported.