Macron: UK is a friend … sometimes ‘in spite of its leaders’

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the U.K. is a friend of France regardless of its leaders, just hours after the front-runner to become British PM Liz Truss said the “jury is out” on whether Macron is Britain’s friend or foe, sparking fierce criticism from all corners.

“Whoever wins the leadership in the United Kingdom, I don’t question for a second that the U.K. is a friend of France,” Macron said in Algiers, responding to a question from POLITICO. “If we are not able to tell between France and the U.K. whether we are enemies or friends … we are heading towards serious problems.”

At a Conservative leadership campaign event Thursday, Liz Truss vowed to judge Macron by his “deeds not words” in her cross-Channel dealings as leader.

The French president offered a more measured response. “For sure I say, the British people, the nation that is the United Kingdom is a friend, a strong and allied nation, whatever its leaders… And sometimes in spite of and beyond its leaders… or the little mistakes they may make in campaign pot shots,” he said.

Truss’ comments will only fuel further tensions to the Anglo-French relationship, which hit rock bottom during Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s term after Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016.