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PM hails Macron victory as he lauds France as one of ‘most important allies’

Emmanuel Macron was projected to have secured around 57% of the vote in the French presidential election run-off (Gonzalo Fuentes/AP)
Emmanuel Macron was projected to have secured around 57% of the vote in the French presidential election run-off (Gonzalo Fuentes/AP)

Boris Johnson has congratulated Emmanuel Macron after exit polls suggested he had won a second term as French president.

Mr Macron’s rival, far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, quickly conceded on Sunday night after polls suggested the incumbent had secured at least 57% of the vote.

The Prime Minister, calling France one of the UK’s “closest and most important allies”, said he was looking forward to working with Mr Macron on bilateral and global issues following his new mandate.

London and Paris have endured a tense relationship in recent years, with Mr Macron’s administration outspoken on post-Brexit fishing rights and the Conservative Party administration’s approach to tackling migrants crossing the Channel in small boats.

But with a second term likely to be confirmed by official results later on Sunday, the UK Government will likely be hoping it paves the way to work more constructively in future.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Johnson said: “Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on your re-election as president of France.

“France is one of our closest and most important allies.

“I look forward to continuing to work together on the issues which matter most to our two countries and to the world.”

David Lammy, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, congratulated the president for “defeating the far-right to win a historic second term”.

If the projections hold, centrist Mr Macron would become only the third president since the 1958 founding of modern France to win twice at the ballot box, and the first in 20 years, since incumbent Jacques Chirac trounced Ms Le Pen’s father in 2002.

“This is a victory for democracy and co-operation over nationalism and intolerance,” Mr Lammy added.

“The UK-France relationship is vital for both countries.

“As Putin continues his illegal war in Ukraine, it is more vital than ever that the continent of Europe and our Nato allies remain united in defence of our common security.”

Labour and opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer also offered his congratulations to the 44-year-old, adding on Twitter: “The relationship between our countries is based on respect and allyship, and we look forward to that continuing.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “delighted” that her devolved administration could “continue to work in close partnership” with Paris on issues such as “climate change, biodiversity, culture and our common European values”.

Ms Le Pen was projected to win between 41.5% and 43% support, an unprecedented result for the far-right and the 53-year-old on her third attempt to win the French presidency.

The National Rally leader was beaten 66% to 34% by En Marche’s Mr Macron in the last presidential run-off in 2017.

The election outcome is likely to provide stability to the European Union as the continent grapples with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Mr Macron an ardent supporter of the European project.

Ms Le Pen’s campaign had pledged to dilute French ties with Brussels, a move that, had she won, would have seriously altered Europe’s security architecture as the continent deals with its worst conflict since the Second World War.

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