Liz Truss says ‘jury is out’ on whether Emmanuel Macron is ‘friend or foe’ | Politics News

Liz Truss refused to say if Emmanuel Macron is a “friend or foe” during the penultimate leadership hustings which also saw her take aim at “extremely boring” Keir Starmer.

The foreign secretary did not pull any punches when faced with quick-fire questions from TalkTV host Julia Hartley-Brewer at the event in Norwich.

Asked if the French President and leader of the UK’s closest neighbour, Emmanuel Macron, was a “friend or foe”, she replied: “The jury is out.”

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She added: “If I become prime minister, I will judge him on deeds, not words.”

The relationship between the UK and France has suffered since Brexit, with the two sides rowing on issues such as fishing and migration.

When asked the same question, leadership rival Rishi Sunak replied instantly that President Macron was a “friend”.

French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron

He has previously said he wants to reset the UK’s relationship with Europe if he wins the race to succeed Mr Johnson.

During the quick-fire questions round, both candidates were asked if they would rather be stuck in a lift with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon or Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Mr Sunak quipped that he would “rather take the stairs” – leading to a large round of laughter from the audience.

Ms Truss said she would pick Nicola Sturgeon so she can “persuade her to stop being a separatist by the time we got to the ground floor”.

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‘Rather take stairs’ than be stuck in lift with Starmer

It comes after the foreign secretary suggested she will “ignore” the Scottish leader over her wish for another independence referendum and called her an “attention seeker”.

It led to a war of words with Ms Sturgeon hitting back that Ms Truss asked her how she could get into Vogue when they met briefly last year.

After giving her answer, Ms Truss could not resist making a dig at the Labour leader, saying: “Frankly, being stuck in a lift with Keir Starmer would be extremely boring.”

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The opposition leader has previously been forced to defend himself against accusations he is too boring to be prime minister, saying “the only thing that is boring is being in opposition”.

Ms Truss also said Boris Johnson would be a better prime minister than Rishi Sunak after her leadership rival said he would prefer to see her in No 10 than the outgoing PM.

Ms Truss is widely expected to win the leadership contest when the result is announced on 5 September.

Mr Sunak said today that he will not leave politics if he is defeated while insisting there was still “everything left to play for”.