No evidence French president called England ‘oppressive’, ‘murderous’ and ‘cruel’

9 February 2023
What was claimed

President of France Emmanuel Macron once said that England was “fearful of losing Scotland” and called England an oppressive, murderous, cruel nation that disrespected others’ democratic rights and believed it had “a right and entitlement to others' wealth and resources”.

Our verdict

There’s no evidence he ever said this.

A post on Facebook appears to show a quote from the President of France Emmanuel Macron describing England as an “oppressive”, “murderous” and “cruel” nation. But there is no evidence he ever said this.

The full quote falsely attributed to Mr Macron reads: “England is extremely fearful of 'losing' Scotland, hence the reason for their irrationality, and their lashing out at other nations who share Scotland's plight in that England removed Scotland from the EU against its democratic will. England is an oppressive nation. A predator nation. A breaker of rules. A breaker of Treaties. A breaker of Peoples and nations. A murderous nation. A cruel nation. A nation disrespectful of others' democratic rights, thoughts and opinion. A nation who believes it has a right and entitlement to others' wealth and resources that under international law, does not belong to England.”

We can find no record of the French politician having said this or anything close.

Last year, the SNP apologised after the same graphic was shared then deleted by one of its local branches on Facebook. Liberal Democrat and Conservative MSPs both remarked to the Scottish Daily Express that the quote was clearly fake. A Labour spokesperson also condemned the sharing of the fake quote. 

The leader of France saying England was a “murderous”, “predator” or “cruel” nation would presumably have made headlines here and across the channel, but we could find no evidence that Mr Macron has publicly said anything along those lines since he became president or before. 

When interviewed in March 2017, before he became president, Mr Macron was asked about Scottish independence. He said he couldn’t speak for others but mentioned Scotland following its own path and its love of Europe.

The interviewer replied: “So it’s pretty much yes? Long live a free Scotland?”

Mr Macron replied: “Long live European Scotland.”

During last year’s Conservative leadership hustings, Liz Truss said “the jury’s out” on whether President Macron was “friend or foe” of the UK. President Macron responded by saying the British people and the UK (not England specifically) was “a friendly, strong and allied nation, regardless of its leaders”. A few months later, Ms Truss also described Mr Macron as a “friend”.

Image courtesy of Jacques Paquier

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