Suggestions Prime Minister Scott Morrison should have informed French defence officials about the cancellation of the submarine deal prior to the AUKUS announcement are “farcical and absurd”, says The Australian’s Editor at Large Paul Kelly.
Speaking to Sky News Australia, Mr Kelly said the prime minister was left with no option but to continue with the French contract until it was time to “lock them out”.
“The claim made by the Labor Party and commentators that Scott Morrison should’ve breached the French beforehand is a farcical and absurd claim,” he said.
“The fact of the matter is, if we were going to do this deal, we had to break the contract with the French; that is a very tough thing to do, there was no way around it.
“To actually suggest that Morrison, before this deal was wrapped up, before it was announced, should’ve briefed the French is absurd.
“The risk for Morrison, if he had done that, is he may have put the deal in danger with the Americans.
“The truth is, Morrison had no option but to keep the French locked in until it was time to lock them out.”