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Norfolk MP and friend of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron dubs him a “modern day JFK”

PUBLISHED: 14:18 24 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:18 24 April 2017

French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron thumbs up as he addresses his supporters at his election day headquarters in Paris , Sunday April 23, 2017. Macron and far-right populist Marine Le Pen advanced Sunday to a runoff in France's presidential election, remaking the country's political system and setting up a showdown over its participation in the European Union. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron thumbs up as he addresses his supporters at his election day headquarters in Paris , Sunday April 23, 2017. Macron and far-right populist Marine Le Pen advanced Sunday to a runoff in France's presidential election, remaking the country's political system and setting up a showdown over its participation in the European Union. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Friend of French Presidential candidate Emmannuel Macron and Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman has dubbed the independent challenger to Marine Le Pen as a “modern day JFK”.

Mr Freeman met Mr Macron, whose support in the first round of the French elections helped brush aside the two main Socialist and Republican political parties, in the lead up to the European referendum as industry ministers at a European Industry Ministers Summit.

Mr Freeman was minister for life science and innovation, and Mr Macron French minister for industry and finance.

Speaking in a personal capacity about Mr Macron after the surprise election result, the Norfolk MP said he has an “extraordinary personal energy and charisma”.

“We share a lot of beliefs about the need for a more innovative, enterprising model of state,” he said. “He has made a point of being pro-innovation and pro-entrepreneurship, like a modern-day JFK.

“I would say his breakthrough - and indeed Le Pen’s - and the collapse of the mainstream French political parties, signals another step in the quiet revolution sweeping Europe.

“He is an independent and representative of a fresh start. He has created not a party but a movement en masse which reaches out beyond the traditional boundaries of party political affiliation.

“His message is both challenging to vested interests and old bureaucratic government, but also reassuring that France and Europe have a big role in the world.

“That is combined with an extraordinary personal energy and charisma. He is particularly appealing to people’s hopes for the future rather than their fears. Interestingly it is a sign of the French political and economic difficulties and failures that there is now a huge number of French entrepreneurs and business in the UK, especially in London, who voted overwhelmingly for Macron.

“I think he is genuinely independent and he is now the candidate of the centre.”

Mr Macron came in first in Sunday’s vote, with just over 23pc; Marine Le Pen had 21pc; Jean-Luc Melenchon and Francois Fillon each had 19pc. Mr Fillon, a former prime minister, bested the former Trotskyist Mr Melenchon by just 94,998 votes.

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