LEP chair Street in hot water over French remarks

THE boss of John Lewis, Andy Street, has been forced to apologise after branding France as “hopeless and downbeat” at a dinner in London.

Street, also chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, was quoted in The Times as saying that in France “nothing works and worse, nobody cares about it.”

A 30-minute delay to his Eurostar train appeared to irk the businessman as he was quoted in the newspaper as saying “You get on Eurostar from something I can only describe as the squalor pit of Europe, Gare du Nord, and you get off at a modern, forward-looking station (St Pancras)”.

The John Lewis Partnership’s managing director had been in Paris to receive an award from the World Retail Congress. However, even this left him unimpressed.

Reporting his speech at the dinner, The Times quoted Street as saying the award “made of plastic and is frankly revolting”.

He was quoted as saying to his dinner guest that if they had any investments in France then they move them straight away.

In his apology, Street said his comments had been tongue in cheek but he recognised that he may have gone too far.