Emmanuel Macron appoints Europe minister who called Brexit a Tory ploy

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Emmanuel Macron - Benoit Tessier/Reuters
Emmanuel Macron - Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Emmanuel Macron’s newly appointed minister of European affairs has previously accused the Conservative Party of staging the Brexit referendum in order to gain more parliamentary power.

Mr Macron, the French president, conducted a cabinet reshuffle on Monday following a bruising election in which his centrist alliance lost control of parliament.

Among his new appointees is Laurence Boone, who in March 2017 said Brexit was a “political decision made by the Conservative government” so they could enter the general elections with “a united Conservative position”.

The former Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development chief economist also argued that a “lack of understanding” amongst the British public about “how the EU works” contributed to the Brexit vote.

Ms Boone has previously spoken about the benefits of a second Brexit referendum.

Laurence Boone - AFP via Getty/Eric Piermont
Laurence Boone - AFP via Getty/Eric Piermont

The 53-year-old French economist previously served as an economic adviser to Francois Hollande, the socialist president between 2014 and 2016.

In his reshuffle, Mr Macron dispensed with Damien Abad, who has been accused of raping multiple women.

Last week, French prosecutors said they had opened an investigation into the allegations, made public shortly after Mr Abad was appointed to the post of minister for solidarity and disabled people in May.

The investigation will focus on accusations by two women who separately accused him of forcing them to have non-consensual sexual relationships with him. He has denied the allegations.

Mr Abad is replaced by Jean-Christophe Combe, the head of the French Red Cross.

The allegations have created a headache for Mr Macron, who was already under pressure to reshuffle his cabinet after his party lost its absolute majority in parliament in last month’s legislative elections.

Aurore Berge, the head of his La République en Marche party, told the French radio RTL on Sunday that “as soon as an investigation has opened, it means that people will be unable to fulfil their role properly”.

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, the junior minister for international development, will keep her position despite allegations of gynaecological rape from former patients. Ms Zacharopoulou denied allegations that she had raped patients during gynaecological examinations.

Gerald Darmanin, the hardline interior minister, who was under investigation for rape when he was appointed in July 2020, will keep his position and see his portfolio expand to oversee the French territories. He denied any wrongdoing, and in January prosecutors asked for the case to be dropped.

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