Keir Starmer to meet Emmanuel Macron in breach of protocol, with French president 'to test Labour leader on Brexit'

13 September 2023, 17:27

Keir Starmer is set to meet with Emmanuel Macron
Keir Starmer is set to meet with Emmanuel Macron. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Emmanuel Macron is set to host Sir Keir Starmer in Paris, as the Labour leader seeks to boost his international reputation ahead of the next election.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The meeting could take place as soon as next week, according to reports - although Labour have not confirmed that it is going ahead.

An aide to the French president told Politico: "The president told Rishi Sunak on the sidelines of the G20 that he was going to meet Keir Starmer. It's logical for the president to meet the different players of European countries."

Downing Street said the meeting was not unusual. Sir Keir has already met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, German leader Olaf Scholz, and then-Irish premier Micheal Martin, and previous opposition leaders have also met foreign heads of government.

But Mr Macron does not usually meet opposition politicians from outside his own centrist group.

Read more: 'We cannot welcome all the misery in the world': Fewer migrants stopped by French authorities in 2023 than 2022

Read more: Macron dances while Paris burns: French President slammed for attending Elton John concert while country hit by riots

The two are set to meet at the Elysee Palace
The two are set to meet at the Elysee Palace. Picture: Getty

A French source said that Labour wanted to test out their possible future policies with France.

"We’re not from the same political family – we are not Socialists – but…the strategic nature of the bilateral relationship justifies us receiving him and this desire to come and test the major policies with us that he may put into his electoral programme," the source told the Telegraph.

"What is our vision of UK-France relations tomorrow? What do we do with Brexit? What are we doing with the European Union. What are we doing in terms of defence, etc.

"Does he want to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement (from the EU) and how does he globally see relations with Europeans tomorrow?

Sir Keir Starmer is set to meet Emmanuel Macron
Sir Keir Starmer is set to meet Emmanuel Macron. Picture: Getty

"It’s normal for us to be able to address such questions of a strategic nature, with strategic partners ahead of an important election."

The government has been trying to work more closely with France to stop the small boats crossings in the Channel.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron appear to have improved relations between London and Paris since the arrival of Mr Sunak into Downing Street.

Some have even called the relationship a "bromance".

Mr Sunak's press secretary played down the significance of Mr Macron's possible meeting with the Labour leader.

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron. Picture: Alamy

She said: "Opposition leaders do occasionally meet other countries' leaders, and I think this is possibly following in the footsteps of Ed Miliband - and we know how that one worked out.

"I would say as well whilst he's planning his trip across the pond today 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."

It comes after Sunak hit out at Sir Keir for planning to block a plan to scrap a green rule to boost housebuilding.

The House of Lords will vote on a plan to get rid of "nutrient neutrality" requirements for developers.

Labour has said it will block the proposal, which they call "deeply problematic".

The Tories claim that softening requirements will boost the economy by £18 billion and allow developers to build an extra 100,000 homes by 2030.

Rishi Sunak reacted to Labour's vow to block the plans by calling Sir Keir "principles-free" and said he was chasing "a cheap political hit".

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Rishi Sunak has announced an extra £25 million in funding to stop the boats.

Sunak announces £25m extra funding to tackle people smuggling gangs ahead of migration talks with Austrian Chancellor

A woman in her 50s was mauled to death in her own home in east London.

Woman mauled to death in XL Bully attack at east London home as police seize two dogs

Turkey Erdogan Eurovision

Turkey’s leader claims Eurovision Song Contest is a threat to family values

Labour's Diana Johnson has told LBC the department of health was 'defending itself' during the infected blood scandal.

‘The department of health was institutionally defending itself’, Labour MP tells LBC after infected blood scandal report

Iran Ebrahim Raisi

Iran’s president and foreign minister die in helicopter crash

Exclusive
Julian Assange's wife calls for extradition case against WikiLeaks founder to be abandoned by US after High Court win

Julian Assange's wife calls for extradition case against WikiLeaks founder to be abandoned by US after High Court win

France Cannes 2024 The Apprentice Red Carpet

The Apprentice, about a young Donald Trump, premieres in Cannes

A 'heat dome' is forecast to hit over the half-term.

UK to enjoy 800-mile ‘heat dome’ with temperatures of up to 25C in parts of country over half term

King Charles and Queen Camilla in attendance of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

King Charles and Queen Camilla greet crowds at Chelsea Flower Show as they visit garden designed by children

Haiti Airport

Haiti’s main airport reopens nearly three months after violence forced it closed

Israel Palestinians

International Criminal Court seeks arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders

Hardline 'Butcher of Tehran' Ebrahim Raisi's death opens door for escalating Iran-West confrontation

Hardline 'Butcher of Tehran' Ebrahim Raisi's death opens door for escalating Iran-West confrontation

Why everyone in their twenties seems to be running - and why I’m one of them

Why everyone in their twenties seems to be running - and why I’m one of them

Rishi Sunak has apologised for the infected blood scandal.

'This is a day of shame': Rishi Sunak apologises ‘wholeheartedly’ for infected blood scandal after 'chilling' report

Kate Roughley, 37, strapped the Genevieve Meehan face down on to a bean bag

Parents will 'never forgive' nursery worker who killed daughter by strapping her face down and ignoring cries

Children were used as "objects for research" the final report of the Infected Blood Inquiry has found.

The school where dozens died: Only 30 of 122 boys at Treloar College are alive after experiments with infected blood