Michael Savage: There is another love in Sarkozy's life


Related Topics

For two leaders recently embarrassed by chatter about their behaviour behind closed doors, the smiles lighting the faces of Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy seemed as unlikely as they were fulsome when the pair appeared for their lunchtime press conference yesterday.

Perhaps they had bonded over their shared adversity. Or maybe they had been cheered by the realisation that they had something else in common – a mutual distrust of David Cameron.

The French leader came as close to endorsing Mr Brown's campaign for a fourth Labour term as the age-old art of diplomacy would allow, lavishing praise on the Prime Minister for his work during the financial crisis, while admitting to his own concerns over Mr Cameron's decision to pull the Tories out of the EU's main centre-right grouping.

Mr Cameron's pledge to leave that European People's Party (in order to secure crucial votes from Eurosceptics during his bid to become leader in 2005) is a decision that could lose him some important friends.

It left the Tory leader scrambling to quell any rancour when he met the French President later in the day, assuring him that Britain would be an "active and energetic" participant in the EU if he became the next prime minister. Indeed, the meeting had been their "best ever", a Tory spokesman desperately insisted.

Mr Sarkozy was here to hold Mr Brown's hand in view of the photographers – and Angela Merkel may also visit Downing Street before the election, another European leader lining up to offer tacit support to Mr Brown's election campaign.

The French President deployed landmines in Mr Cameron's path, insisting, unprompted by any questioning, that Britain needed to remain "bang in the middle" of Europe.

He pleaded, "We need you", and insisted, "I don't want to meddle in domestic affairs" before adding, pointedly: "I'm very happy to work with a British Labour Prime Minister."

For the gaggle of journalists packed into the No 10 briefing yesterday, the vagaries of Tory European policy were not the main event. They were all waiting for someone to ask Mr Sarkozy "that" question.

While Mr Brown has had to endure days of headlines alleging that he bullied staff, the Gallic rumour mill has spun that both Mr Sarkozy and his wife, the musician and former supermodel Carla Bruni, have been enjoying extra-marital affairs.

According to the latest unsubstantiated internet tittle-tattle, the president had a fling with Chantal Jouanno, 40, the junior environment minister and former French karate champion.

When the inevitable question was delivered to the stony-faced President, delicately phrased by a brave French journalist, Mr Sarkozy dismissed it as "idiotic".

"You must know very little about what the President of the Republic actually has to do all day long!" he fumed at such fripperies. "I certainly don't have time to deal with these ridiculous rumours, not even half a fraction of a second.

"I don't even know why you use your speaking time to put such an idiotic question."

Mr Brown, not known for his repartee, wouldn't have been the most likely candidate to lighten the mood. Yet filled with a sudden zeal to rescue his new best friend from an unwelcome confrontation, he jumped in. "As far as the British press, I have been able to tell Nicolas that I don't believe everything that I read in the British press," he chuckled.

Amazingly, it worked. Mr Sarkozy stepped back from the brink – just. "I love Britain. Don't make me bite back those words," he warned, half joking.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Bookkeeper - German Speaking - Part Time

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...

Ashdown Group: Field Service Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...

Recruitment Genius: Sales & Marketing Co-Ordinator

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A woman runs down the street  

Should wolf-whistling be reported to the Police? If you're Poppy Smart, then yes

Jane Merrick

Voices in Danger: How can we prevent journalists from being sexually assaulted in conflict zones?

Heather Blake
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

Escape from Everest base camp

Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

Gossip girl comes of age

Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

Goat cuisine

It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
14 best coat hooks

Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?