Boris Johnson urged Emmanuel Macron to “donnez-moi un break” after a UK-brokered pact saw them lose a £47bn contract as the Australian submarines spat erupted
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Boris Johnson has accused Emmanuel Macron of behaving like a jilted lover as the Australian submarines spat erupted into a major diplomatic row.
The Prime Minister urged the French President to “donnez-moi un break” after a UK-brokered pact saw them lose a £47bn contract.
But the fall-out is set to get worse after he admitted to reporters on the train to New York that Britain, the US and Australia are shutting the doors to their exclusive club.
The three countries will work closely together on security, human rights and economic affairs but France will not be invited to the table.
Mr Johnson suggested the French President’s fury over being cut out of the deal was equivalent to the behaviour of a dumped lover.
In a startling insight into how he viewed his own personal affairs, Mr Johnson said: “There are no easy ways of having these conversations.
“It’s a very human thing to delay the conversation until the last possible moment.
“I don’t know if anyone has been in that situation in their emotional life but it’s very human to put it off.”
Earlier, a bullish Mr Johnson had urged the French President to “prenez un grip” and chill out over the deal.
In Del Boy-style Franglais, he said: “I just think it is time for some of our dearest friends around the world to ‘prenez un grip’ about all this and ‘donnez-moi un break’.
“This is fundamentally a great step forward for global security.
“It is three very like-minded allies standing shoulder to shoulder creating a new partnership for the sharing of technology.”
He added: “It is not exclusive, it is not trying to shoulder anybody out.”
In stark contrast, a diplomatic US President Joe Biden yesterday called the French President to try to smooth over cracks in their special relationship.
On the train back to New York, Mr Johnson admitted to reporters that both he and Mr Biden were “taken aback” by the level of fury from Paris.
The AUKUS deal includes the US providing submarines to Australia, a show of strength aimed at China, meaning a valuable contract with France was dumped.
France was caught short by intelligence failures even though Aussie PM Scott Morrison claimed he had tipped Paris off in advance.
But some British officials believe that Mr Macron is ratcheting up his anger to get a bigger compensation pay-out over the collapsed deal.
Britain’s relationship with its closest neighbour is already under strain with disputes over Channel migrant crossings and post-Brexit trade problems.
Mr Macron has not attended the United Nations summit in New York meaning Mr Johnson has avoided a potentially embarrassing encounter.