‘This is not helpful language’ - Presenter criticises Brexiteer for Airbus remarks

Mark Francois MP and Chuka Umunna MP appear on Good Morning Britain. Photograph: GMB/ITV.

Mark Francois MP and Chuka Umunna MP appear on Good Morning Britain. Photograph: GMB/ITV. - Credit: Archant

A television presenter has criticised Tory Brexiteer MP Mark Francois for his comments about the boss of Airbus.

Mark Francois appeared alongside Labour Remainer Chuka Ummuna on ITV's Good Morning Britain as the Brexiteer was scrutinised for appearing on BBC News days before ripping up a letter from the boss of Airbus.

As he did so the MP compared the warning about no-deal Brexit to Brits fighting Germany in World War II.

Presenter Susanna Reid said: 'You made that very specifically about him being German with an allusion to what happened in the Second World War.

'This isn't helpful language, is it? Airbus have a perfectly reasonable fear of what might happen to their activities in the case of a no-deal, and that isn't about bullying MPs it's about everybody having all of the information necessary.'

Mark Francois MP rips up a letter from Airbus on BBC News. Photograph: BBC.

Mark Francois MP rips up a letter from Airbus on BBC News. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

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But Francois did not appear apologetic. He said: 'Tom Enders is well-known in the aerospace industry, he's been a character shall we say.'

'So a successful businessman that you have a personable gripe against?' asked a curious Reid.

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'Well he is a rather arrogant man,' continued Francois. 'The thing that I really objected to is he issued this letter threatening MPs that if we didn't do what he wanted he would pull jobs out of our country.

'You say he's got a right to make a point of view, but what I didn't like and I thought he should be called out on it which is why I did what I did, was the fact he was attempting to bully us a particular way.'

A perplexed presenter responded: 'Who knows more about Airbus - him or you?'

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'Well who knows more about the House of Commons, me or him?' responded the Brexiteer.

'We're not talking about the House of Commons, we're talking about Airbus. Who knows more about what's going to happen in the case of a no-deal scenario than the person who runs Airbus?'

Francois continued: 'The context of his letter was MPs were again going to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, and it's in that context I objected to the contribution that he made.'

The Brexiteer then continued to claim that a 'senior delegation from Siemens' went to meet with shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

'I was told, now I was not at the meeting so I have got this second hand, in that meeting the Siemens executives pressed John McDonnell to vote for the Yvette Cooper amendment... he would not guarantee that Labour would do that... and apparently at that point the Siemens executives got pretty shirty.'

A perplexed Chuka Umunna intervened calling it 'nonsense'.

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The Remainer said: 'His nationality, to be honest, doesn't matter partly because in the end all of the EU people you speak to and their businesses see this as damage limitation. Believe it or not they don't want to bully us Mark, this will be bad for them and bad for us.

'I think if we go back to this rhetoric from the 1940s, my grandfather prosecuted the Nazis at Nuremberg, we don't want to go back to that kind of space, that kind of sentimental attitude.

'These guys employ hundreds of thousands of people providing them jobs, we want to know what they think.'

During the programme Francois was also ridiculed by host Piers Morgan for having a French surname, to which the MP responded: 'I've got more news for you, my mum was Italian, my middle name is Gino.'

'You couldn't get more European!' the presenters told the Brexiteer.

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