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FT editor Lionel Barber awarded France’s highest honour as thanks for ‘positive role in European debate’

By Dominic Ponsford

Financial Times editor Lionel Barber looks set to receive France’s highest honour apparently in recognition of his publication’s European coverage.

Under Barber, the FT has been a supporter of the European Union and it gave its backing to the Remain campaign in the June UK referendum.

Barber let slip that he is to receive the Legion d’Honneur when he shared a picture of a letter from French ambassador Sylvie Bermann on Twitter.

He was apparently trying to send the letter privately to a friend but tweeted it publicly by mistake. The letter has been published by the Guido Fawkes website.

In the message, Barber says: “Morning LW I wanted to share this with you – confidentially because not good publicity in the uk right now!”.

The letter from the French ambassador said: “Dear Lionel,
I am pleased to inform you that, on the proposal of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the embassy, the French President has appointed you to the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre national de la Legion d’Honneur by decree of 6 July 2016.

“Through this award, France wants to recognise your remarkable career, your contribution to high-quality journalism and the Financial Times’ positive role in the European debate.”

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Chevalier (or knight) of the Legion of Honour is the highest of the five classes.

Sun associate editor Trevor Kavanagh was critical of the FT’s pro-EU stance in a Press Gazette interview last month.

He said the Financial Times “…has been vehemently pro European for at least the last 20 years and has made no secret of the fact that it is partisan and has indeed lost a lot of credibility in the City because it has presented only one side, the project fear argument throughout the campaign.”

The FT declined to comment.

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