‘The father of Brexit’ – whose relationship with France’s government has often been strained – resigned yesterday as leader of the Conservative party and promised to step down as prime minister as soon as a replacement is found.
It is the beginning of the end of a premiership that has at many times strained the relations between the UK and France – notably over fishing disputes, the Northern Ireland Protocol, and cross-English Channel migration.
France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire summed up the French government’s feelings towards Mr Johnson in an interview with Franceinfo this morning (July 8) saying “personally, I won’t miss him”.
“It is proof that Brexit mixed with populism does not make a good cocktail for a nation,” he said.
Mr Johnson’s resignation has, of course, also made big waves in the French press. Here, we look at five of the main daily newspapers’ front pages to see how they reacted to the news.
Le Figaro – ‘Abandoned by his party heavyweights’
The traditionally right-leaning Le Figaro gave Mr Johnson the headline spot on its front page (la une, in French).
A picture of the British prime minister looking typically dishevelled is captioned with the headline: “Boris Johnson lays down his arms” (Boris Johnson rend les armes).
The sub-head below reads: “Abandoned by the heavyweights of his own party, the head of the British government reluctantly agreed to give up the presidency of the Conservative party. But he intends to remain Prime Minister until his successor is chosen”.
Le Monde – ‘A chaotic and laborious fall’
Centrist paper Le Monde dedicated the main space on its frontpage to France’s own embattled prime minister Élisabeth Borne, who has come under pressure for not offering MPs a vote of confidence on her plan for the new government.
Mr Johnson’s name is etched across the top of the page, though, with the paper going for the obvious “Boris Johnson forced to resign”.
In the paragraphs below the paper writes: “Plagued by scandals, abandoned by his own government, the British prime minister had to give up, Thursday, the leadership of his party.
“His fall has been chaotic and laborious. He lost the confidence of his parliamentary group and succumbed to the mass resignations of his ministers.”
Les Echos - ‘Throws in the towel’
The right-leaning Les Echos gave top billing to the French government’s new spending power bill but found space for a deflated-looking Johnson to the right of the page.
The headline reads: “Boris Johnson, the father of Brexit, throws in the towel”.
Libération – ‘Scandals and lies’
Screenshot / Libération
Left-leaning Libération went all in on Mr Johnson’s resignation with a full page on the British prime minister.
The headline “Big Beigne” is a play on words as ‘beigne’ means blow or punch in French but also sounds like ‘ben’, as in ‘Big Ben’.
The implication is that Mr Johnson has been hit by a big blow.
Below, it reads: “His mandate, marked by scandals and lies, weakened a country already fractured by Brexit”.
La Croix – ‘The price of lies’
Screenshot / La Croix
The conservative paper La Croix also went big on Mr Johnson’s resignation, with a blown-up image of the prime minister looking defeated.
The headline reads simply: “Boris Johnson, the fall”.
Below it states: “The British Prime Minister has been abandoned by his party which has lost all confidence in this provocative and unreliable leader”.
On the right is a column written by the paper’s editor-in-chief Jérôme Chapuis titled, “The price of lies”.