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The country is understood to be furious after the UK and US announced that they had agreed to help the Australian navy acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, prompting the cancellation of a £30bn deal for France to supply conventional diesel-electric watercraft.
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday that the “exceptional decision” was justified by the countries’ actions, but he made no mention of recalling the French ambassador to London.
It came as a report suggested that ousted former education secretary Gavin Williamson was being tipped for a knighthood following his departure from the UK government.
The Tory MP, who was widely-criticised in his Cabinet post, is expected to feature in Boris Johnson’s next honours list, according to sources for TheTelegraph.
Health minister at centre of cronyism allegations sacked in reshuffle
A health minister who was at the centre of a series of controversies over the government’s handling of the Covid crisis has been sacked in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle, it has emerged.
Lord Bethell said on Friday that he was “sad to be standing down” from the Department of Health and Social Care after joining the department in March 2020.
Our political editor, Andrew Woodcock, has the full story below:
Lord Bethell ‘sad’ to leave as legal battle over messages on private phone rages
France-AUKUS row could cause ‘deep damage for Nato’, former ambassador says
France’s row with the UK, US and Australia over a deal for nuclear-powered submarines is “far more than just a diplomatic spat” and could cause “deep damage” for Nato, a former ambassador to the country has said.
Lord Peter Ricketts told BBC Radio 4’s Vandag show on Saturday that the recall of ambassadors from the US and Australia by the French government was just “the tip of the iceberg”.
“I think there is a deep sense of betrayal in France because this wasn’t just an arms contract,” Lord Ricketts said.
“This was France setting up a strategic partnership with Australia and the Australians have now thrown that away and negotiated behind the backs of France with two Nato allies, the US and UK, to replace it with a completely different contract.
“I think for the French, this looks like a complete failure of trust between allies. Daarom, causing them to doubt, what is Nato for?”
Hy het bygevoeg: “You might remember that President Macron described Nato as ‘brain dead’ 18 months ago.
“I think he will be confirmed in that view and this puts a big rift down the middle of the Nato alliance, pushes France towards doing more with other European countries, puts Britain very much in the camp with the Americans in dealing with the Indo-Pacific.
“But Britain needs a functioning Nato alliance and my worry is that this does deep damage to Nato, going well beyond the diplomatic row over an arms deal.”
Ministers ‘set to hold talks with energy industry’ over rise in gas prices
The government is set to hold talks with energy industry representatives over concerns about a rise in wholesale gas prices, it has been reported.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will talk with chief executives from gas producers, suppliers and regulator Ofgem on Saturday to discuss the extent of the impact of the surging prices, according to the BBC.
The rise has been blamed on high global demand, maintenance issues and lower solar and wind energy output.
Government sources have reportedly told the BBC that there is no threat to the UK’s gas supplies, but potential impacts on small energy companies most at risk of exposure are being monitored.
“The UK benefits from having access to highly diverse sources of gas supply to ensure households, businesses and heavy industry get the energy they need at a fair price,” a government spokesperson told the broadcaster.
“We are monitoring this situation closely and are in regular contact with the food and farming organisations and industry, to help them manage the current situation.”
Gavin Williamson ‘tipped for knighthood’ following departure from Cabinet
Former education secretary Gavin Williamson is reportedly being tipped for a knighthood in Boris Johnson’s next honours list following his departure from the Cabinet this week.
The Tory MP, who was sacked following a series of missteps in office, declined to comment about the rumour when approached by Die Telegraph, saying that he had not heard about the claim.
Our reporter, Zaina Alibhai, has the full story below:
The move is likely to anger schools, parents and unions who called for his resignation.
Recalling envoys justified by ‘unacceptable AUKUS behaviour’, French minister says
The decision to recall France’s ambassadors to the US and Australia is justified by the “unacceptable behaviour” of the AUKUS alliance, a French minister has said.
In 'n verklaring, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that he was acting on the instructions of the country’s president Emmanuel Macron when he made the shock move on Friday.
France is angry over an announcement this week that the UK and US had agreed to help the Australian navy acquire for the first time a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, cancelling a £30bn deal for France to supply submarines in the process.
“This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on 15 September by Australia and the United States,” Mr Le Drian said.
He added that their actions constituted “unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners, whose consequences directly affect the vision we have of our alliances, of our partnerships and of the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe”.
Although the minister made no mention of recalling the French ambassador to London, it is unlikely that the UK will completely escape the diplomatic fallout.
Boris Johnson is reported to have brought together US president Joe Biden and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison at the G7 summit in Cornwall in June ahead of the deal.
France recalls US and Australian ambassadors in protest at AUKUS submarine deal
France has taken the dramatic step of recalling its ambassadors to the US and Australia in protest at being pushed out of a multibillion-pound submarine deal.
Diplomatic relations between France and countries in the new AUKUS alliance have been strained after Australia revealed that it would pull out of a contract with the French government to supply defence submarines in favour of a rival deal with the UK and US.
Our reporter, Helen Elfer, has the full story below:
The decision was made by French president Emmanuel Macron
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