Europhile Macron recognises kindred spirit as Tories fume over Starmer meeting

Keir Starmer insists Brexit agreement with EU is a ‘bad deal’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is set to meet President Macron just weeks before the King’s forthcoming state visit, it has been revealed.

The meeting represents a major break with protocol, and undermines Rishi Sunak’s authority at home and in Europe.

Sir Keir is said to want to “test the waters” of his policies with France, with whom he’s said Britain needs to have a better relationship in order to stop small boat crossings.

It’s understood that Sir Keir requested the meeting, and France agreed in the hope of protecting the “strategic nature” of Anglo-French relations, regardless of who wins the next election.

The Elysée Palace said that Monsieur Macron informed Rishi Sunak about the forthcoming meeting in person at the G20 in India last week.

READ MORE: French mocked for ‘wishful thinking’ that UK will ditch Brexit and rejoin the EU

The meeting is set to break with precedent, as Mr Macron has historically only agreed to meetings with opposition leaders from his own centrist political family.

France says they conceded to the meeting request as it is important for Sir Keir to “test” French reactions to his proposed policies.

No. 10’s response to the meeting has today ranged from quiet disdain to attempting to downplay its significance.

Asked about the meeting following PMQs, Mr Sunak’s press secretary quipped: “Whilst he’s planning his trip across the pond, he might like to spend five minutes to think about the 100,000 homes that are not going to be built because of what he’s doing”.

A reference to Labour’s opposition to new Tory planning proposals, which will block many new homes being built.

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Tory MPs, however, are angrier about the news.

One told the Express that Macron is a “massive Europhile and he recognises a kindred spirit” in Sir Keir Starmer.

“He clearly expects Starmer to cosy up to the EU if Labour win the next General Election.”

Another said the fact the meeting is happening is “very off” on France’s part, “especially as Rishi is meant to be a mate”.

A third reacted to the news with an expletive, demanding to know what both parties are playing at and adding: “Starmer should know better”.

Mr Sunak’s relationship with Mr Macron has undoubtedly been the warmest of any UK Prime Minister’s since he came to power in 2017.

With both perceived as relative centrists in their countries, they have also bonded as former bankers.

In March, Mr Sunak signed a new deal with President Macron worth more than €500 million to stop illegal migrants crossing the channel.

Mr Sunak’s defrosting of diplomatic relations with his French counterpart has been described as a ‘bromance’.

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