The Tory MP Mark Francois has been criticised for a BBC interview he gave on Brexit, during which he lashed out at the German chief executive of Airbus and cited his father's status as a WWII veteran.
The interview, which aired on Friday, saw the Conservative MP for Rayleigh and Wickford tear up a letter fromAirbus CEO Tom Enders where he warned about the potentially catastrophic implications of Brexit.
Francois, who had not been directly asked about Enders' words, brought a copy of the letter to the interview and unleashed a rant against the businessman, which some have branded as 'Germanphobic'.
The 53-year-old was originally asked by the BBC reporter:
For you and your colleagues who are very much in favour of Brexit, is your position softening and are there any circumstances under which you could now back the prime minister's deal?
His reply didn't answer the question at all and instead referenced Enders' service in the German military. He also said that as a patriotic Englishman he would "never dream of telling a German MP how to vote".
Well, we’ve had another intervention, in the debate. Yesterday Tom Enders, the CEO of Airbus, who was a German paratrooper in his youth, issued a letter where he called the Brexiteers mad.
Presumably, because we are trying to implement the decision of 17.4 million Brits in the referendum. I’m a patriotic Englishman but I never dream of telling a German MP how to vote in the Bundestag and I think Mr Enders should pay us the same courtesy.
Mr Enders’ intervention is a classic example of the sort of Teutonic arrogance, which is one of the reasons why many people voted to leave the European Union. If he thinks because he runs a big company he can bully British MPs how to vote, he is going to be sorely mistaken.
My father Reginald Francois was a D-Day veteran, he never submitted to bullying by any German, neither will his son. So if Mr Enders is watching, that’s what he can do with his letter.
This unprovoked stunt from Francois certainly raised a few eyebrows and, before long, he was on the receiving end of a huge backlash on Twitter with many people criticising the language of the speech.
Others brought up their own personal history with WWII and let Francois know how deeply misguided his words were.