UK Relations with France

Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons on 30th June 2020.

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Photo of Felicity Buchan Felicity Buchan Conservative, Kensington

What recent diplomatic steps he has taken to strengthen UK relations with France.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

On 18 June, we welcomed President Macron and Foreign Minister Le Drian to London to commemorate the 80th anniversary of de Gaulle’s appel. President Macron presented the Légion d’honneur to London and the British people, and also met Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary held talks with the President and the Foreign Minister. France is a close neighbour, a key ally and a vital partner, and that day in particular really emphasised our country’s shared history and our future joint ambitions. The Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and I continue to have regular phone calls with our French counterparts.

Photo of Felicity Buchan Felicity Buchan Conservative, Kensington

South Kensington is home to a very large and vibrant French community, many of whom now have dual nationality. Will my hon. Friend assure me that, whatever temporary disagreements we may have with France—during, for instance, Brexit negotiations —it will always remain one of our closest and most strategic allies?

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

I can assure my hon. Friend that France will remain one of our closest and most strategic allies. We will continue to co-operate on security, defence, development and foreign policy. In regard to EU negotiations, as the Prime Minister has made clear, the faster we can reach an agreement the better. We welcome the fact that the EU has agreed an intensified timetable and signed up to a sensible process to take the talks forward.