| 5 March 2024, Tuesday |

Macron assures Truss that France and Britain will always be allies

Britain and its people will always remain France’s allies, said President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, after the frontrunner for Britain’s next prime minister claimed she couldn’t determine if he was a friend or an adversary.

During a visit to Algeria, Macron described the United Kingdom as “a friendly nation, regardless of its leaders, sometimes in spite of its leaders.”

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the frontrunner to succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister in the Conservative leadership election, which runs until September 5, indicated on Thursday that she was undecided on the matter.

When asked if Macron was a friend or adversary during a husting’s session with rival leadership contender Rishi Sunak, Truss said, “The jury’s out,” prompting shouts and acclaim from the audience of Conservative Party members.

Relations between London and Paris have worsened since the Conservative-led United Kingdom exited the European Union in 2020, with disagreements arising over immigration and post-Brexit commerce over the Irish Sea.

Truss was chastised by Britain’s opposition Labour Party foreign affairs spokesperson David Lammy, who said she had “decided to needlessly offend one of our closest allies,” demonstrating a “awful and dangerous lack of judgment.”

Truss also stated that if she were elected Prime Minister, she would evaluate Macron “on acts, not rhetoric.”

British finance minister and Truss supporter Nadhim Zahawi claimed the remark was meant in jest and that Britain wants to be evaluated on its deeds, not its words. “Liz and I both recognize France as a vital ally,” he explained.

French officials have privately stated that confidence between the two countries is extremely poor in the aftermath of Brexit.

When asked about the remarks, Johnson stated that relations between the United Kingdom and France were crucial. “I’ve always had extremely strong ties with Emmanuel Macron,” he remarked, adding that Macron was a “tres bon friend.”

  • Reuters