Fury as ‘anglophobic’ Macron seeks to veto Wallace for major NATO role

Ben Wallace assures Ukraine UK is 'full square behind them'

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Emmanuel Macron has been met with fury after it was reported that the French President is seeking to veto Ben Wallace being considered to be Secretary General of NATO. Mr Wallace, a former soldier, has been tipped to take over from Jens Stoltenberg when his term comes to an end in September 2023. But France is said to be opposed to any UK or Turkish candidates who might be up for the role.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen accused Mr Macron of “anglophobia”, telling Express.co.uk: “While Macron’s anglophobia is disappointing, he is at least consistent.”

Another Tory MP told Express.co.uk that France’s position raises questions for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, noting that he “sees Macron as a friend”.

Meanwhile, David Jones, deputy chairman of the European Research Group, said “anyone with a fair mind would recognise it’s a good idea to have a representative of a major military power in that role.”

He added: “The fact is, we are the second biggest contributor to NATO. We are the biggest military power in Europe.”

The MP backed Mr Wallace for the role, describing him as a “highly competent person who is internationally respected”.

Mr Jones added: “I would have thought that the role would suit him, if that is what he wants.”

Meanwhile, Mr Bridgen said the Defence Secretary would be “ideal” for the role of NATO Secretary General.

He said: “Although I think Ben Wallace being appointed NATO General Secretary would be a huge loss to the Government, I have no doubt that he would be ideal for the role.

“Ben has demonstrated his credentials by the way he has conducted the UK response to Putin’s illegal invasion of the Ukraine and his collaboration with our allies to deliver coordinated and United support for Ukraine.”

According to the Times, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland are also contenders for the role.

Ms Freeland would be the first female to be appointed to the position.

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In March, NATO extended Mr Stoltenberg’s term as General Secretary by one year.

He is expected to step down in September 2023.

Mr Wallace has been widely praised for leading the UK’s response to the Ukraine crisis.

Earlier this week, he announced that the UK will send helicopters to Ukraine, the first piloted aircraft to be sent by the UK since the war began.

Britain remains the second largest donor of military aid to Ukraine after the United States.

Speaking from Oslo, the Defence Secretary said the UK’s support for Volodymyr Zelensky’s battle against Russia would remain “unwavering”.

Earlier this week, he announced that the UK will send helicopters to Ukraine, the first piloted aircraft to be sent by the UK since the war began.

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