In Brief

Macron vows to fight against far-right during trip to London

French presidential candidate talks tough on post-Brexit relations after meeting with Theresa May

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has pledged to beat the far-right's Marine Le Pen in his country's upcoming election.

Speaking after a meeting with Theresa May in London yesterday, Macron said he would be pro-liberal and pro-Europe, adding: "In the current environment, if you are shy, you are dead.

"When extremes and anti-globalisation win elections, that is probably the best moment for France to decide to do the opposite."

Despite the meeting, there were "few signs that a Macron presidency would mean a friendly Elysee Palace for May's government as the Brexit negotiations unfold", says The Guardian.

Despite standing outside No 10, the politician said he would offer a series of initiatives to attract "banks, talents, researchers, academics" to move across the Channel after Britain leaves the EU.

"The choice of venue was perhaps indecorous, but his sentiments were hardly controversial. France is keen to make the most of opportunities after Brexit," says Sky News's Dominic Waghorn.

But there was another good reason for Macron's grandstanding, he adds: "He needs the attention. His campaign is beginning to flag, after a promising start."

Stephen Bush in the New Statesman agrees, saying: "Macron's rally in London last night was overshadowed by polling that showed him slipping back slightly as he reaped the consequences of his excessive candour on the matter of France's rule in Algeria."

The candidate caused uproar among veterans of the Algerian war of independence last week when he said France's 132-year colonisation of Algeria had involved "crimes against humanity".

This week's opinion polls had him either trailing in third place behind former front-runner Francois Fillon and far right nationalist Marine Le Pen or in joint-second with Fillon.

"As far as the polling and French history show, what matters in this contest is the race to second-place and a ticket to the second round run-off against Le Pen," notes Bush.

Heading into that hypothetical run-off vote on 7 May, Macron is well ahead of his rival – 18 percentage points ahead of Le Pen, at 59.0 per cent to 41.0 per cent.

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