Liz Truss says ‘jury’s out’ on whether Macron is ‘friend or foe'

Liz Truss has been widely criticised after she refused to give an answer to a question regarding Emmanuel Macron - even prompting the French President to hit back with a savage interview of his own.

The foreign secretary, who has emerged as the favourite to take over from Boris Johnson as prime minister, spoke during a Conservative hustings event in Norfolk on Thursday evening.

During a quickfire Q&A session with host Julia Hartley-Brewer, she was asked: “President Macron, friend of foe?”

“The jury’s out,” she replied, prompting applause in the room.

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“If I become prime minister, I would judge him on deeds not words,” she said.

Just to be clear, this is the same Macron who is the leader of France – which has been a strong strategic ally to the UK for decades with a close defence relationship, as well as being a fellow founding member of NATO.

Macron later his back at the comment, saying in an interview with French press that "The United Kingdom is a friendly nation, regardless of its leaders, sometimes in spite of its leaders."

Truss has been criticised following her comments, with former Conservative ministers voicing their concerns on social media.

Former foreign minister Alistair Burt said Truss had made a "serious error", while former Conservative minister Gavin Barwell said: "You would have thought the foreign secretary was aware we are in a military alliance with France."

Truss said she would 'judge Macron on his actions'Conservatives/Getty

Labour MP David Lammy claimed Truss had shown "a woeful lack of judgement" by insulting one of "Britain's closest allies".

Another former Tory minister, David Gauke, said: "There's playing to the gallery and then there's letting the prejudices of the gallery go to your head, especially when now is one of the worst times to try to fragment the West."

Rishi Sunak was also asked the same question about Macron and he described him as a "friend".

Truss’s comments come after a period of tension between France and the UK, with the countries clashing over migrant boat crossings in the Channel, the licensing of French fishing boats in Jersey's territorial waters and Brexit measures involving Northern Ireland.

We can't imaging Truss's comments are going to help much.

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