Monday evening UK news briefing: Why France is ‘in a bad way’

Ms Le Pen said her defeat was “a victory” yet her far-Right rival Éric Zemmour, who was knocked out in the first round of the presidential election, crowed: “Alas, alas, alas, it is the eighth time that defeat has hit the name Le Pen.” 

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the defeated candidate’s father, ran in 1974, 1988, 1995, 2002 and 2007. 

In the end, the cordon sanitaire, the informal agreement that French voters will vote for anyone but the hard-Right, did its work but cracks are beginning to appear in the anti-nationalist coalition. 

Europe editor James Crisp analyses how Ms Le Pen could win the next French election but Gavin Mortimer sets out the reasons why Ms Le Pen has been a disaster for the French Right.

Battles ahead

The honeymoon is already over for the re-elected President. 

Mr Macron faces a fierce battle to push through reforms to reboot the French economy and raise the retirement age, as leaders of the hard-Right and Left vowed to stop him winning a majority in parliamentary elections. 

Environmental policies to boost French nuclear power and make France the first major country to stop using oil and gas are other priorities. 

Vladimir Putin congratulated Mr Macron today, wishing him “good health”, a day after Mr Macron and Volodymr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, spoke on the phone after the 44-year-old was re-elected. 

Read the next battles he faces to avoid becoming a lame-duck president.

The Union that wasn’t

Had it not been for a pivotal moment six centuries ago, Mr Macron would need not have worried about his re-election – or getting elected at all. 

Indeed the Queen could have this year been celebrating seven decades as monarch not only of the UK but of France as well, her realm running from the Hebrides to the Alps and Pyrenees, her subjects including Mr Macron, Gérard Dépardieu and the entire French first XV. 

It could have happened, and maybe should have happened, if things had not gone belly up in 1422. 

Anthony Peregrine details how France and England were nearly united to become the world’s greatest country.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: Ukraine’s war behind enemy lines

Two fires at fuel facilities in the south-western Russian city of Bryansk have renewed focus on apparent Ukrainian missile strikes and covert operations campaigns inside Russia. Russia’s Investigative Committee, the country’s rough equivalent of the FBI, said it was launching an enquiry. It comes as Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced Britain will send Stormer armoured vehicles fitted with anti-aircraft missile launchers to Ukraine. Mr Wallace added that British assessments showed around 15,000 Russian personnel had been killed in the conflict. Meanwhile, it has been claimed that the Biden administration has held off imposing sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s alleged mistress.

Monday interview

Serge Aurier: The real reason things turned sour at Spurs

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