‘An incompetent jester’: France delivers its verdict on Britain’s new PM Boris Johnson

'An incompetent jester': France delivers its verdict on Britain's new PM Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson: Photo: AFP
He's never been a great fan of the French so perhaps it's no surprise that the verdict in France on Britain's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson is a less than flattering one.

Press and politicians in France reacted on Tuesday as Johnson was confirmed as the winner of the Tory leadership contest, and therefore Britain's next Prime Minister.

In a result announced in London on Tuesday afternoon, Johnson was confirmed the winner with 92,153 votes, beating Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt who took 46,656 votes.

Current Prime Minister Theresa May had already announced that she will step down on Wednesday, ushering in the reign of controversial former journalist Johnson.

Only members of the British Conservative party were eligible to vote in the leadership contest – a total of 159,320 people.

Johnson himself has never been shy of a bit of French bashing – who could forget his infamous 'turds' comment when he was Foreign Secretary?

And the French have not held back on their opinions of him. On Tuesday the media and politicians gave their views on the new leader of Britain and some of them were far from flattering.


How Johnson is seen across La Manche. Photo Libération

Leftwing daily newspaper Libération describes him as “a liar, self-centred, obsessed with money but appreciated for his eccentricity and self-derision, the former mayor of London, who became a Eurosceptic to stand out from the crowd” in an article headlined 'Boris Johnson, future Queen's jester'.

Radio station France Info is equally unsparing, while conceding that Johnson is “certainly very clever” they describe him as someone who has “a history of incompetence and is known as a buffoon”.

LCI TV channel were more concerned by the potential alliance between Johnson and US President Donald Trump which they described as “unwanted”.

“Should we be scared of Boris Johnson?” LCI asked.

LCI pointed out that Trump and Johnson had much in common, including the fact they were both born in New York, both have bad hair cuts and both have launched stinging attacks on Hilary Clinton in the past.

The channel said the similarities don't stop there. They have both been accused of racism recently and of pushing fake news and lies in the media.


Le Parisien headlines its article 'Boris Johnson, anti European . . . and half Alsatian'

And newspaper Le Parisien points out that although Johnson is now running on an anti EU ticket, he himself is French, or at least partially.

His grandmother was half French, born in Versailles and with roots in the Alsace region of France – hence his middle name of de Pfeffel.

Meanwhile Le Monde – the heavyweight French daily paper known as the newspaper of record – has republished an editorial simply saying “Boris Johnson leading the UK? No thanks!” `

In the political world, words were more measured, with French president Emmanuel Macron congratulating Johnson on his win.


“I congratulate Boris Johnson and I will call him when he is officially prime minister,” Macron said.

“I want very much to work with him as quickly as possible and not just on European subjects and the continuation of negotiations linked to Brexit, but also on international issues on which we coordinate closely with Britain and Germany… like the situation in Iran,” he added.

The incoming European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who was in France having a working lunch with Macron at the Elysées Palace, congratulated Johnson, but warned they had “challenging times ahead.”

“Congratulations to Boris Johnson for being nominated as prime minister. I am looking forward to having a good working relationship with him. 

“There are many different and difficult issues to tackle together. We have challenging times ahead of us.” 




Member comments

  1. Totally agree Brian. Thank heavens my half is French. Johnson is just a court jester that plays to the gallery more then Farage does. At least Farage doesn’t change his coat mid-stream but both are an embarrassment to the UK.

  2. I’ve put up with Thatcher Blair Brown but never been so ashamed to have English blood in me. Thank god the other half is Scottish.

  3. I can never understand why people are so happy to support and elect someone who has blatantly lied to them and shown no remorse. But since now Trump is Liar in Chief, elected by the lied to, why should I be surprised that one of our own biggest liars has been elected. Just look at his promises above. Anyone believe them and not already in an institution, must be waiting for admission to one.

  4. “We are going to get Brexit done on October 31.

    We are going to take advantage of all the opportunities that it will bring in a new spirit of can-do.

    And we are once again going to believe in ourselves and what we can achieve.

    And like some slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity, with better education, better infrastructure, more police, fantastic full-fibre broadband sprouting in every household – we are going to unite this amazing country and we are going to take it forward.” Boris

  5. It does not really matter what the French think of Boris – He has the ability to get Brexit sorted while still working with the EU…

    Listen to his language at the acceptance speech. He wants inclusivity, fairness and butt kicking to get the UK going in partnership with the EU.. Comments about fibre, trade deals with other countries and hard work will reverberate throughout the country.

    I’ll bet Macron would love to energise the French in a similar way, but they are all on holiday……

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