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Reported comments by French President Emmanuel Macron branding British Prime Minister Boris Johnson a “clown” and a “knucklehead” were “unhelpful,” a British government minister said on Thursday.
The French president’s scathing assessment of the prime minister threatened to fuel an already bitter diplomatic row between London and Paris which has been simmering for weeks.
Business Minister George Freeman suggested the remarks belonged in the “pantomime season” and linked them to the impending French elections.
“Of course, the prime minister isn’t a clown, he is the elected prime minister of this country with a very big mandate, leading this country through the pandemic,” he told Sky News. The comments attributed to Macron were made privately to a small group of his advisers during a visit last week to Croatia, according to French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine.
The president had already lashed out publicly at Johnson, accusing him of not being “serious” in his response to the capsizing of a migrant boat in the Channel with the loss of 27 lives.
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