Chris Bryant, now a shadow Foreign Office minister, told the Commons other languages - such as Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic - were more important.
'Unless we have sufficient numbers of people who speak modern foreign languages - and not just the useless modern foreign languages like French ...,' the Labour MP said.
Amid Tory protests that this was 'insulting' to the French, Mr Bryant, who was minister for the EU before Labour lost power, said: 'I've said this to the French. I think they realise there are problems.' More...