Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will fight for the French presidency after the country’s two main parties crashed out of the first round for the first time since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958. In a seismic shift in French politics, final results put Mr Macron, an independent centrist, top on 23.75 per cent, with Ms Le Pen, the far-Right Front National leader, just behind on 21.53 per cent. Conservative François Fillon, dubbed the “Thatcherite” candidate, was eliminated on 19.91 per cent, with revolutionary Leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon coming fourth on on 19.64 percent, the Interior Ministry said.
Marine Le Pen stormed into the final straight of the French presidential election last night as mutinous voters humiliated the country’s two established parties. The historic result, on a turnout close to 80 per cent, pitched the National Front leader into a run-off against Emmanuel Macron, the 39-year-old centrist and political novice, who launched his political movement a year ago. With nearly all the votes counted from last night’s first round, Mr Macron took 23.9 percent with Ms Le Pen on 21.4 per cent. The centre-right Republicans were swept aside, with François Fillon, a former prime minister, coming third on 20 per cent, just ahead of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a far-left militant whose support surged over the past month to claim 19 per cent.
French voters turned their backs on the political establishment last night in round one of the presidential election. Emmanuel Macron – an independent centrist – won first place ahead of National Front leader Marine Le Pen. The result will have major implications for Britain and its departure from the EU. Miss Le Pen wants to completely renegotiate France’s relationship with Brussels while Mr Macron wants closer links. According to France’s Interior Ministry, 46 million people voted in the first stage of the elections which knocked the traditional Right and Left parties out of the running for the first time in 60 years. With 97 per cent of the vote counted, Macron achieved 23.9 per cent, followed by Le Pen on 21.4. A total of 36.7million voted, a turnout of 78.2 per cent.
Supporters of far-right leader Marine Le Pen are celebrating after she stormed into the French presidential election final vote. The National Front leader won a 21.58% share behind the centre-left candidate Emmanuel Macron on 23.82%, with 46million of the 47million votes counted. It means Le Pen, who wants to leave the European Union, is set for the final showdown on May 7 against Macron – the pro-Europe 39-year-old seen as France’s Tony Blair . Le Pen told supporters she was “honoured” to reach the run-off in the closest election since the Second World War. She added: “This result is historic. It puts on me a huge responsibility to defend the French nation, its unity, its security, its culture, its prosperity and its independence.”
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron have advanced to a run-off in the French presidential election, projected results show. Counting of 47 million votes in the election first round put Mr Macron on 23.75% of the vote and Ms Le Pen on 21.53%, according to the French Interior Ministry. The pair will now face a run-off vote on May 7 – something many polls suggest Mr Macron will win. Defeated candidate François Fillon, of the centre-right, registered 19.91% of the vote, while hard-left nominee Jean-Luc Mélenchon took 19.64%. As the standings became clearer, French politicians on the left and right urged voters to block Ms Le Pen’s path to power.
Tony Blair has advised those going to the polls to consider voting for the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats in order to weaken the Prime Minister’s mandate for a hard Brexit. The former Prime Minister said it was important to vote for candidates who had an “open mind” on the final deal and that people should not limit their votes to just Labour because the issue was “bigger than party allegiance”. He also praised Theresa May, arguing: “She’s very sensible, she’s a very decent person, she’s very solid, I agree with a lot she says.” Mr Blair has previously admitted that he “wouldn’t want to win on an old-fashioned leftist platform” like Jeremy Corbyn’s, “even if I thought it was the route to victory”.
Tony Blair has sensationally hinted he could run for Parliament to stop the country being “hijacked” over Brexit by Theresa May. The former Labour PM yesterday even refused to rule out standing for the party again in an astonishing interview. He said with Theresa May on course for a landslide – the election was about reducing the size of the ‘Hard Brexit’ mandate she wins on June 8th. He said voters should consider backing Tories or Lib Dems in some seats if it meant electing MPs “open to questioning” the Brexit strategy. And speaking to the BBC he added: “I look at the British political scene at the moment and I almost feel motivated to go right back into it.”
Tony Blair has urged voters not to elect MPs who “back Brexit at any cost”, whichever party they are from. The ex-PM told the BBC that Brexit was a bigger issue than party allegiance for the general election on 8 June. He said the Tories were likely to win but a big Labour vote could constrain the PM, whose “unreasonable” policy was being driven by her party’s right wing. And he said he felt so passionately about Brexit he was “almost motivated” to re-enter British politics himself.
Theresa May is facing a Cabinet split over suggestions the Conservatives are poised to abandon a pledge not to raise major taxes after the election. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, suggested last week that David Cameron’s pledge not to raise income tax, VAT or national insurance should be abandoned. He said that the pledges “constrain the ability of the government to manage the economy flexibly”. However, Sir Patrick McLoughlin, the Tory Party chairman who is running the General Election campaign, said that he disagreed with Mr Hammond. In a clear indication that the policy is still under discussion Sir Patrick said Mr Hammond had been expressing his own views rather than that of the party.
TORIES will seek to “finish off” the trade union movement if they are reelected in June, the Communication Workers Union conference heard yesterday. The union’s acting leader Tony Kearns characterised the upcoming general election as “the fight of our lives” and urged the labour movement to “take back control” of British politics. He said the Conservative Party would not be satisfied with last year’s Trade Union Act, imposing thresholds on strike ballots among a raft of curbs on working-class rights. “If the Tory Party gets a majority for another five years, they’re coming to finish us off,” he told the conference.
SUPPORT for the Tories has soared to the 50 per cent mark, according to an opinion poll. The survey suggests backing for Theresa May’s party has risen by four points since she last week announced a General Election. If the predicted vote share is achieved on polling day, she would win a landslide victory with a Commons majority of more than 200 seats. And the ComRes poll published today also suggests support for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn has slumped to 25 per cent. Meanwhile, a separate survey suggested the Tories could snatch 11 seats in Scotland from Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party. Former Cabinet minister Michael Gove said: “We can’t be certain this far out how this election is going to develop. I take every poll with a pinch of salt.”
Labour’s credibility on defence is in tatters after Jeremy Corbyn ruled out ever using Britain’s nuclear deterrent, refused to back a drone strike to kill Isil’s leader and said he would suspend air strikes on Syria. Mr Corbyn’s comments were widely condemned by senior military figures and Labour MPs amid warnings that the nation will not be safe in his hands. Within hours of his interview, the Labour Party was forced to issue an embarrassing statement clarifying that it still supports the Trident nuclear deterrent.
LABOUR’S Jeremy Corbyn was branded a danger to Britain after refusing to say he would authorise a drone strike if he had the chance to kill the leader of ISIS. The leftie leader also blew another gaping hole in his credibility by signalling he would scrap Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent. The bombshells came in a car-crash TV interview which left him being branded a “deluded” danger to the country. First Mr Corbyn went against his party’s official position by saying he was not sure a promise to renew Trident nukes would be in Labour’s election manifesto. He waffled: “We will have a strategic defence review immediately which will include all aspects of defence.”
JEREMY CORBYN will promise to transform the lives of Scots under a Labour government, including introducing a £10-an-hour living wage. In his first election campaign visit north of the border at the STUC conference, which begins today, the Labour leader will set out a raft of policies to help ordinary working Scots. His pledges include negotiating a Brexit deal to protect working people, repealing the Trade Union Act, opening inquiries into blacklisting and Orgreave, guaranteeing the triple lock for pensions and requiring companies holding public contracts to recognise trade unions. He will tell the delegates at Aviemore: “The choice facing the country is clear. It’s the people versus the powerful. Labour will challenge the rigged system that is holding our country back. And, just like trade unions, we will stand for the many, not the few.
Labour will “never, ever apologise” for the closeness of its ties with the trade unions, Jeremy Corbyn will say. The party’s leader is due to address the Scottish Trades Union Congress in Aviemore on Monday. Labour has only one MP in Scotland, having lost 40 seats to the SNP at the last general election. One recent poll put the party 20 percentage points behind the Conservatives in Scotland, and further behind the SNP. Mr Corbyn will say: “Labour will never, ever apologise for the closeness of our relationship with the trade union movement, you are our family. “That is why one of the very first things we will do when forming our Labour government will be to repeal the vicious Tory Trade Union Act, giving working people the rights to collectively organise and make their lives better, safer and more content.”
UKIP were today expected to call for mandatory annual medical checks for girls from at-risk minority groups in a bid to tackle the brutal scourge of FGM. Margot Parker, the party’s Women and Equalities spokeswoman, will propose cases of female genital mutilation should be a specific criminal offence. Sources said Ukip wanted prosecutors to be forced to a “presumption of prosecution” of any parents whose daughter is a victim of the barbaric practice. More than 8,000 women have been identified as victims of FGM but there have been no successful prosecutions in Britain even though the cruel op was outlawed more than 30 years ago. It came as Ukip boss Paul Nuttall revealed the party could help Tory and Labour Brexiteers hold their seats by not standing candidates in their constituenc
THE PRIME Minister will consider scrapping the Government’s flagship High Speed rail scheme HS2 after being lobbied by hostile MPs to ditch the £56billion project in the Conservative Party manifesto. Conservative MP George Freeman, the Prime Minister’s policy chief who is helping to draw up the party’s manifesto, told a group of Tory MPs on Wednesday that cancelling HS2 is up for consideration. The MPs, led by Andrew Bridgen and Cheryl Gillan, had argued that the task of dealing with Brexit meant the bill needed to approve the second phase of the scheme between Birmingham and Crewe would be delayed – adding at least an extra £10 billion to the project’s ballooning budget. They also pointed to recent polling by ComRes for the Taxpayers’ Alliance which found that only a third of the British public support the construction of HS2 with almost half of those surveyed (45 per cent) against it.
Thousands of seriously ill patients are dying while waiting for basic care at home, figures reveal. In the past three years at least 2,037 adults died before care visits could be arranged in their homes. Many are likely to have had illnesses such as terminal cancer, dementia or motor neurone disease which leave them housebound and dependent on help. In the worst cases, vulnerable patients were waiting for nine months for care to be arranged before they died. Many were forced to spend their final weeks in hospital as care that would have allowed them to die at home was never arranged. Others may have passed away at home having become increasingly reliant on family members for basic daily tasks. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who obtained the data, said the delays were ‘utterly scandalous’ and exposed the human cost of the social care crisis. ‘Behind these figures are real people with real stories of desperation and misery that would break your heart,’ he said. ‘Imagine it was your mum or your son waiting months for the help they need to live their life. ‘It is unacceptable that some people face this indignity – this has to change.’