Johnson speaks to Macron after tensions flare over military pact with Australia

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(Neil Hall/PA) (PA Archive)
(Neil Hall/PA) (PA Archive)

Boris Johnson has spoken to Emmanuel Macron after the French president was angered by Britain forming a new military pact with the US and Australia.

The Prime Minister and Mr Macron spoke in a call on Friday morning, Downing Street said, after the deal caused the cancellation of a lucrative submarine contract for France.

The call represents a bid to calm tensions that had been heightened by Mr Johnson’s earlier use of inflammatory language.

He used “Franglais” to tell Mr Macron he should “prenez un grip” and give him a “break” after France took the drastic action of recalling ambassadors and postponing high-level meetings.

The diplomatic row began when the UK and US agreed to help provide Australia with nuclear-powered subs under the Aukus pact announced last week.

Paris was enraged when it led to Canberra pulling out of a £30 billion agreement for France to supply conventionally powered diesel-electric vessels.

Downing Street said the pair discussed “a range of issues of mutual interest”, including military co-operation through Nato.

“They reaffirmed the importance of the UK-France relationship and agreed to continue working closely together around the world on our shared agenda, through Nato and bilaterally,” No 10 said.

They also discussed the “strategic significance of our long-standing co-operation in the Indo-Pacific”, with Aukus widely seen as an attempt to counter China’s assertiveness.

No 10 said they also discussed migrants making small boat crossings in the Channel, and the post-Brexit issues of fisheries licences and the Northern Ireland Protocol.

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