Cameron's jokes 'don't mean very much': Hollande visits No.10

Hollande made light work of Cameron's sense of humour today.
Hollande made light work of Cameron's sense of humour today.
Ian Dunt By

David Cameron and Francois Hollande did their best to put on a brave face after past difficulties today, when the French president made his first trip to Downing Street.

The meeting was the first chance for the two men to put the past behind them, after Cameron explicitly backed former president Nicolas Sarkozy at the elections.

He also caused problems by snubbing Hollande when he first visited London and invited French people to come to London to escape high taxes across the Channel.

"It doesn't necessarily mean anything very much," Hollande said of Cameron's invitation to his countrymen.

"I like the British sense of humour."

Then the Frenchman cheekily added: "The top rate of tax in Britain is 45%. In France it's 41%."

Asked about Cameron's warm words towards his opponents during the elections, the French president said: "In electoral campaigns there are tricky political situations.

"There are relationships. We know each other and I have pleasure working in that type of atmosphere."

Cameron highlighted the importance of the Anglo-French relationship, which became even more significant after the coalition's decision to share some military capabilities.

"We're both practical, rational politicians who enjoy strong links between our countries," he said.

The election of Hollande provided political difficulties for centre-right leaders across Europe as the debate moved onto growth rather than austerity. It is unclear how he will be able to deliver his domestic agenda amid the continued need to reduce public spending, however.


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