In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines, with Evan Davis in Paris and Naga Munchetty in London.
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In half an hour from now, the French election campaign
By law, no party message can be broadcast, no
The end of the first round of an election,
The killing of a policeman last night has added
The poll leader, Emmanuel Macron, says no-one should be trying
to score political points out of the shooting.
We'll ask the Front National's campaign coordinator why
And we journey deep into the heart of France.
It says here that this monument symbolises the centre of gravity of
continental France. Meanwhile, here at home,
in our election campaign, Theresa May made a commitment
on foreign aid that Let's be clear, the 0.7% commitment
remains and will remain. We need to look at how that money is spent and
make sure we are able to spend that money in the most effective way.
Jeremy Corbyn has been telling Labour's story on the trail.
Frightened of the bear, this big Bear?
Party political pledges are being made.
How much will Brexit determine what this election comes down to?
Hello, mild evening in Paris, as it counts to an election
that promises change - whoever wins.
Hugely consequential for the EU, for Brexit and for the people here.
Today, the last day of the campaign was of course, the day overshadowed
by the killing of a police officer last night, just a few
Be clear, this has not been the same sort of shock
as previous incidents, not at all, life has
But it has affected the election campaign.
The fact that the killer - named today as Karim Cheurfi -
was known to the authorities, had been in jail before and had
previously attacked a police officer obviously became an election issue.
Does that benefit the candidates of the right?
Two of them made an argument that they would be tougher
on terrorism today - earning a rebuke from
What we know is that we already have an unprecedentedly
No voters anywhere are getting as wide a range
Populist right, populist left, traditional conservative,
Any of the top four candidates could make it
Paris in spring, the Arc de Triomphe's little brother, celebrate
Napoleon's victories and harks back to time the country was divided
between Conservative loyalists and liberals inspired by the French and
France has divisions today that are coming to a head in an election that
is in effect a four horse race. You've heard of Marine le Pen, tough
on law and order and immigrants. She was quick to judgment on yesterday's
killing. TRANSLATION: For ten years on the government is right and left
everything has been done to make sure we lose this war. We need a
presidency that acts and protects. And here is anti-globalisation and
your Broe sceptic and anti-NATO. He's on the left and has a canny
sense of and theatre. It's easy to imagine voters
switching between Jean-Luc Melenchon and Marine le Pen, because even
though they are so far apart on many things, they are on the same side of
the great divide. Ah you to hell and want to change everything? One
unlikely outcome on Sunday evening is that the two of them go through
to the final run-off. Unlikely, because they are actually fighting
over some of the same voters, but were that to happen, it would be a
Brexit moment for France, it would be a nightmare for the European
Union and it would be a good time to sell LE Eurocurrency might have. --
any euro currency. That's what the top candidates are trying to stop,
also promising change, Emmanuel Macron is leading in the polls.
Centrist, a social and economic liberal, and yesterday he secured
the Obama vote. Hello Mr President, how are you? Immanuel? Yes, exactly.
I'm doing very well. But he's young, untried and he worked in banking.
Fortunately for Emmanuel Macron, his rival has worse scandals against him
than that and has struggled to change the subject. TRANSLATION:
It's not just as they want, it's to break me, and not just me, it's the
right they want a break. The polls say of the four, and Marine le Pen
and Emmanuel Macron are most likely to go through, but are they right?
What is most striking in this election is that one of the two
favourite candidates, Emmanuel Macron, he gained ground and is now
better than he was, but he still has a proportion of voters that are not
sure that their choice is definitive, that they will go and
vote for him. Marine le Pen's voters, are they not more committed?
That's one of the characteristics of National front voters. When you look
at the outside candidates, Jean-Luc Melenchon, Marine le Pen, six of the
French candidates we never talk about but whose posters be spoiled
this otherwise beautiful city, their radical in their own way. Take all
of them together, their totals in the opinion polls come to almost
exactly 50%. And what that implies is this country is almost evenly
divided between those who want to overthrow the system and those who
want to adapt it. That's why one really natural outcome would be for
a final showdown between the two torchbearers of those sentiments.
Marine le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. He is expected to be the next
president in two weeks, but no one can be sure. Spring is the best time
to be in Paris, everyone knows that, and this is a spring that promises
to be like no other. The French polls are rather
interesting by the way - they have been clustering together,
and remarkably consistent; that either gives you the confidence
to believe their predictions Or, that the pollsters have some
sort of flawed group-think. But there has not been a poll
since February that's not made So to learn more about him, I spoke
last night to Benjamin Griveaux, the main spokesman of his party,
En Marche. And began by asking him
who he wanted to come second. You know, French voters will decide
who will be our opponent, but if we follow the polls,
it should be Marine le Pen. She's leading every poll
since two years now. Even if the polls are not that good
for her right now, she is still Populism in France, and it's
difficult to define, but we kind of know what we're
talking about when we use the term. You have Marine le Pen,
Jean-Luc Melenchon, you've got another seven or eight candidates
who you would describe as in the same vein
as one of those two. Their support adds up to 50%, half
the French population, doesn't it? The main issue, I think,
is unemployment. We have a 10% rate of
unemployment in France. We have 9 million people under
the poverty level right now, and people just want to get rid
of them, want to get rid of the usual solution
that the Conservative and the Labour Party in France
propose to them since 30 years. And those two main parties,
we should remind everybody, are doing very badly in the polls
when it comes to this But your candidate, Emmanuel Macron,
is painting himself Your candidate, the change
candidate, has worked for the Rothschilds,
and he's worked for He went to the top French school,
of course, so he knows What he did, and he took a huge risk
when he launched his movement. I mean nobody had ever done
that before in France, because usually if you want to run
for president, you start by being a congressman
for ten years or 15 years, you find a territory where you can
be elected, where people vote for you as a mayor,
and then as a congressman, or maybe as a senator,
then you are allowed Should the British be scared
of Macron winning this election? Because he is the most pro-European
of the major candidates, and, to some extent,
maybe the least sympathetic to a country that is trying
to negotiate its withdrawal. He visited Theresa May
last February. You know, he respects the votes
of the British people. As your Prime Minister says,
"Brexit means Brexit". So you need to have not punitive
approach of Brexit, for sure, A responsible and a clear one,
but obviously what we want, what the British are seeking
in these negotiations, it is kind of access to bits
of the single market and the Customs To access the single market,
you need to have a full freedom of movement and you need to pay
a financial contribution That, I think, is telling me that
you're going to be quite hard... We can work on, of course,
long-term agreements with the UK. I mean, France and UK
remains two close friends, and we will have to work probably
on strategy key issues, defence, I did want to just
finish on security. Does that play, do you think it has
an effect on the election, an election in which people
are feeling scared of change, potentially, feeling
that the country is in Do you think when there
are attacks of any kind, I mean, of course it takes a certain
place in this election. Of course we all have in mind
these images of Nice and the 14th of July and so on,
but I think that when you have a responsible
agenda on terrorism, French people are also
responsible people. They don't want their liberties,
their civil rights to be abolished in the name of fighting terrorism
and so on. We are very much attached to our
liberties and our civil rights. Benjamin Griveaux, thanks very
much indeed, thank you. We're joined by Jean Messiha,
who is campaign coordinator Very good evening to you. Your
candidate made politics of the murder of the policeman yesterday,
didn't she? I wouldn't say that. I think Marine le Pen has been talking
about this risk and this threat for months and years now, and she was
the only one, the only candidate to talk about that, the only
candidate... The only candidate to have talked about terrorism? Yes, in
this campaign she is the only candidate to have talked about
terrorism, to talk about the risk of terrorism and also the only
candidate to have asked the actual... Do you think is
appropriate the day before a policeman is buried to make a highly
divisive speech, at a time in the country... A very divisive speech.
It wasn't a divisive speech. She blames the politicians. Yes, because
we believe all that happened in the past years in the terrorist field
could have been avoided if serious steps would have been taken to
tackle them. She mentioned some steps today that were essentially
about deporting people, foreign and being investigated, by nationality.
Yes, blacklisted people. How would that have helped in the case of
yesterday? He was born in north-east Paris, how would that have helped?
He was followed, actually, by the police. How would it have helped to
deport him? He was liberated before his time... How would talking about
deporting people have helped in this case, a man born just outside Paris?
In this case it is not about deporting people, it's a lax
judicial power, releasing him before his full of custody. It wouldn't
have helped in this case. This morning, it's divisive to do so. No,
she was talking not only about this specific case. She was talking in
global, all the attacks that hit France in the last two years. It's
divisive to talk about deporting foreigners.... Again, it is not
deporting foreigners. We have 10,000 people who are blacklisted for
security reasons. And links to terrorism, so all of those who are
foreigners must be deported. The other ones who are binational must
be taken off the French nationality. And the French ones will stay here.
The French runs, we have an article in our law that allows us to
imprison them. OK. In her comments today, Marine le Pen said the left
and right have been doing everything to lose the battle against
terrorism. Why did Marine le Pen, in the European Parliament on the 14th
of April last year, against measures to introduce passenger name record
in European flights? It is the first thing the governments in Europe said
we need to do in order to protect the public. She voted against it.
We are attached to individual and public liberties. What right has she
got to say everyone is doing everything... The truth is they took
a measure, something we all want to do. Let me answer you. PNR is a
measure were all the passenger records must be gathered and
transmitted to the United States agencies. We are very attached to
individual liberties and it is not because we are fighting terrorism,
because we will threaten the individual liberties. Do you think
if Marine Le Pen wins, the bookies have put a 20% chance on that, do
you think she can heal the divisions in this country are due you think
she will stir up divisions? She is the only one who can heal divisions
because she is the only one to call for authorities back on the streets
of Paris and this state must use its authority to restore the state power
in the street and if the state is stable, in this case, you will have
massive terrorist attacks, more and more in quantity and there will be
civil war. Thank you for talking to us.
Much of the attention of this election has been on Paris and other
large metropolitan areas, where the issues of terrorism
and immigration have been felt most keenly.
But, it's outside the capital that this election
Gabriel Gatehouse has gone in search of the France's political
and geographic heart ...where three different villages compete
to call themselves the centre of the country.
Far from the tensions of the big cities, it is here
that the presidential election will be decided.
We're on a journey to the heart of the country, for it is here,
in the Cher region, that three small villages vie for the title
We've got lines and distances and calculations, a key
I don't know what it all means, but it says here that this monument
symbolises the centre of gravity of continental France,
not taking into account relief and excluding all islands.
We're not the first to try to pinpoint what they call
"La France profonde" - "Deep France".
The majority of French voters live in provincial or rural communities,
and yet the mayor says people here feel ignored by
Politically, he says, Verdun is divided, half
There is an ongoing battle here, to salvage a vanishing way of life.
For many, like this lady, a promise to put French people first
The issues that fuelled Brexit and Trump are at work
This region is a bellwether, as the Cher votes, so
does the nation, and so, our search for the geographical heart of France
It says here that this ought to be the
According to the calculations of the eminent mathematician and
Here they've got the church on their side.
Buying sausages in the central square, we
meet the oldest resident of the village.
94-years-old, she was in the French resistance.
She ought to know a thing or two about defending
"We need a President who is up to the job", she
"The centre has been ignored", her daughter tells me.
"But now", she adds, "deep France is stirring".
Solvay is ploughing it ever dwindling pot of central government
money into renovating local businesses.
In this way, the mayor tells me they hope to avoid the fate
Our search for the centre of France takes us to our final
contender Bruere-Allichamps, where they have a claim
that is perhaps even stronger than science or the church.
This is a third century Roman milestone.
It was moved to this ancient crossroads in 1799,
and it says here that I tradition this spot is designated
At the bistro at the centre of France, the mayor
is doing his bit to keep alive the tradition of the four
Unemployment in La Cher is more than 10%.
Once upon a time people would have turned to the Communist Party.
Local polls reflect the picture nationwide, but
We came across a supporter trying to give a last-minute boost to the
I think the French are very provocative, but they
At the time of voting, they are more balanced
and they think better and they don't explode.
So I have good hope, I have good hope, I keep my fingers
For years La France profonde has languished on the
political periphery, and if Trump and Brexit teaches anything,
Don't underestimate the power of a heartland scorned.
We're joined by two journalists who've followed French politics
Christine Ockrent was editor and chief of the L'Express
and Pierre Haski is the founding editor of Rue 89.
You know them because they have been on the show a lot. Normally you end
these things with your predictions, but I want to start by asking what
your predictions are. I wish you would not ask. This campaign has
been full of surprises and the latest polls to indicate always the
same trend, but in such a narrow circle. Macron is still ahead, Le
Pen comes second, but Fillon has come up as well. I think, it is too
early to tell. What do you think, Macron and Le Pen through to the
second round? That is what the polls say and normally that is what it
should be. I would not exclude a surprise, because we still have a
large section of the population that is undecided and we see it in our
dinner parties, families, people are still asking what they should vote.
There is really this uncertainty. There is a big thing in the Brexit
votes and the trumpet votes, the turnout of people and sometimes
people who did not usually go out and vote in large numbers, but who
did turn out, bigger than pollsters expected and presumably that
benefits Le Pen. Our system is so different, we have two rounds, it is
a majority vote, it has nothing to do with the referendum. That is a
simple question to a complex issue and it is one answer and it has
nothing to do with the American system. The turnout is usually the
key. If the turnout is low, that will favour Le Pen because she has a
much more solid constituency as a base. Why are the Macron voters
softer? They seem to be less committed. He is the new kid on the
block. He is not tested. He is a very limited experience. He has some
aspects of his personality which puzzle people. He has been a banker.
He has sometimes got this charismatic way of talking in his
beatings. He has some aspects of his programme that are liberal and
others that are very social and moderate. Who is he really? A lot of
people hesitate and I think people are tempted by Macron. It is a new
experience, he has got used and this country is longing for someone,
someone who incarnates the future and not the past. Do the Socialists
and the Republicans, who could quite easily come forth and faith... Which
means get out of the sea. That is amazing. Do they come back from
that? Is that terminal for them? I think they probably will murder one
another before... Seriously. It will be absolutely bloody, seen among the
Conservatives and the Socialists. When Macron launched his career, he
called it a movement. I think that is very significant. I think the
party system has exhausted its purpose and its life. People today
want to be involved in politics, people are not out of politics, they
want to take part differently and I think our old party system has
really reached the end of the road. Sometimes you compare elections and
say it is like the one in 1983 or whatever. This is not like any of
them. This is absolutely unique and I think there is not only a
generation of change, but there is a kind of mix of Democratic city, at
least with the system as it has been going for years, always the same
people. At the same time, how great deal of energy and a great deal of
resilience. Last night, Paris was supposed to be on fire. This
morning, first of all Paris was not on fire and secondly, this morning
people were jogging. What is so striking, the voters here have got
the most fantastic choice. No one can say there is not the full
spectrum. That is one of the issues. You have a choice that is different
from the usual line. It is not just right and left what we have had for
30 years, we are unhappy with the right and vote for the left and the
other way around, this time the dividing line is also about Europe,
open country, cross country and that crisscrosses every political family
and that makes this election different and also more crucial. The
clock has struck midnight in Paris. What a relief!
All right, that is all we have time for.
The estimated result of Round 1 will be at seven
It's not an exit poll, it's based on sample counts from
And they'll call the result as long as it isn't too close.
But - they've no experience of with a four way race
Get ready for it - UK election fever is coming
to a town near you - Or it already has if
you were in Swindon, Bristol or Cardiff today -
where Jeremy Corbyn kicked off his campaign outside London.
This afternoon, the eagle-eyed may even have spotted an extra
spring in his step - Close ally, Len Mcluskey,
If Labour is to succeed, it needs to pick up tens of seats
from the Conservatives, so what is the winning strategy?
Our correspondent, David Grossman, joined the Labour leader as he began
Jeremy Corbyn is beginning the fight of his life.
Rarely has a Leader of the Opposition started a campaign
with the arithmetic so steeply stacked against him.
The choice of this seat for the Labour leader's first
campaigning stop outside London is a statement of intent.
It's gone to the governing party in every election
Indeed, all the seats Jeremy Corbyn is going to visit today
are currently in the hands of the Conservatives.
Mr Corbyn's themes on class sizes, the minimum wage, zero hours
The queue for selfies afterwards shows that
But, even activists struggle to explain why this offer might win
Well, you have to get the message out there,
you have to understand why they would have voted
Conservative last time, I'm not sure why they did.
Me personally, I don't understand why that would be.
But if you offer policies that people can get behind,
like the minimum living wage, free school meals,
its policies for all parts of the population of Swindon.
The next stop is a children's centre in Bristol North West.
To win this seat, it's estimated Labour would need a national lead
To put that into context, there currently about 20 points behind.
Fitting then that the book Mr Corbyn is reading
It's all about overcoming a series of seemingly
Mr Corbyn doesn't need to wade through swishy grass or deep mud,
but he does have some formidable obstacles to negotiate.
In order for him to have the same slim majority that Theresa May
enjoys today, he'd need to win 100 seats.
And if we look at who has those 100 most winnable seats
for Labour Right now, one is Green, two Plaid Cymru,
three Lib Dem, nine are SNP, but a whopping 85 are currently
How can you convince people who voted Conservative in seats
like this to vote Labour when Ed Miliband couldn't
Well, we represent what are really very core values of this country.
Justice, fairness, equality, equality of
A health service that works for all, education service
Not having to rely on collections to run schools.
The final event of the day is an open air speech
in Cardiff North, a seat again that the Conservatives currently
hold and one that Labour hasn't won since 2005.
Although, it's not a bad size crowd for almost no notice
on a Friday afternoon, building real support,
enough to take a seat like this, is going to be a big
For some local residents, a visit from Mr Corbyn is more a curiosity
than an attraction. Do you think he is someone that can connect with
conservative voters? No way, no. Why not? I just don't think he has the
right ideas, to be honest. I think he's too far to the left. It's true,
Labour did win this seat in the Welsh Assembly election last year,
but Jeremy Corbyn certainly didn't have a starring role in that
campaign. Every election is difficult, you never take anything
for granted. There's a lot of work to do between now and the general
election. I'd said there's a mountain to climb that mountain is
can be climbed and today is the start of that journey Jeremy Corbyn!
Winning Conservative seat is a huge challenge, particularly since the
polls suggest Labour could struggle to hang onto many of the seats it
already holds. Tomorrow Jeremy Corbyn is due to start Labour's
defensive campaign in Labour seats in the north-west of England.
While Jeremy Corbyn was wooing the crowds in Cardiff,
Theresa May kicked off her campaign trail in Maidenhead -
The Prime Minister put a marker, of sorts, down too today -
attempting to snuff out speculation over the government's commitment
It will remain at 0.7% of national income -
to be spent, in her words "in the most effective way".
Tonight Philip Hammond has hinted he wants to scrap the Conservative
Party does not promise not to raise taxes, so how much will be
non-Brexit issues shape her campaign?
Joining me now is David Aaranovitch, columnist for The Times.
Ava Vidal, Comediand and Commentator.
Tom Newwton-Dunn, political Editor for The Sun.
Good evening. Welcome to you all. Quite interesting to start off with
some of the reaction of the front pages we are going to see tomorrow.
The Financial Times has said, fears of a Philip Hammond tax bombshell.
The sun, the headline, pay and this may. Tories ready to hit the white
van man. The Daily Mirror is saying the Tories' VAT bombshell, picking
up on Philip Hammond saying he will drop this pledge not to hike taxes.
What you make of this reaction? I think it's a perfectly natural one
for newspaper editors to look at some big policy announcements today
from Philip Hammond and Theresa May. Philip Hammond saying we're going to
rip up that promise we made only two years ago to not raise all these big
taxes and we may end up raising these taxes. And also potentially
dropping the triple lock on pensions, which means pensions may
go down. They are seismic, great events and they deserve their place
on the front pages. He hasn't quite said he will rip it up. He
says he is concerned about certain taxes restraining the ability of the
government to manage the economy properly. I think most people's
language that means rip it up. I'm astounded. I didn't expect the
papers to take this turn so quickly. They were pretty much all supporting
Theresa May and conservatives. At 1.I was really despairing, is there
anything these people can do they will not gloss over? It's
interesting. How significant is it, the reaction to Philip Hammond and
their foreign aid budget so early on? The front page of The Times
carries a story saying it Donald Trump will give the EU preference of
the trade deal. I regard these things as minor players in what is
actually all should be the major issue of the election. You're
saying... Get out the way early. The foreign aid one is quite
interesting. One of the questions you ask is, who is Theresa May? Is
she looked small-town Conservative who wants to keep foreigners out and
not pay foreign innate because sometime she seems a bit like that?
Or a globalising big business conservative, like Philip Hammond
would be, in which case you want to think about your responsibilities
and foreign aid is a big part of that. Tim Montgomery, the
Conservative blogger said today that actually he believed he knew that
Ruth Davidson, the Tory leader in Scotland, was a major influence on
Theresa May in keeping the 0.7%. But think about the Bill Gates speech
yesterday. Now tell me that Bill Gates didn't know that Theresa May
was going to do this in other words, she didn't take the decision, I
think, because Bill Gates made the speech. He made the speech to give
emphasis to the position she was about to announce. I would say
that's possibly a conspiracy to Fat. It's not a conspiracy. It is if you
don't believe it. Theresa May cancelled a meeting with Bill Gates
the day before yesterday, which was a pretty good idea. An 0.7%, the
devil is in the detail. I have a sneaking suspicion that this one
isn't quite over yet. 0.7% is only 0.7% if you go with the OECD
definition of precisely what you give to hoops. I think the
government will blurring this. So they will be keeping about more
money might go towards the Hebrides. Let's talk about domestic policy,
these policy statements or pledges and what they mean to the shape of
the election. Up until maybe now, it was considered a Brexit election. Is
that fair? Is it changing? That's what they were trying to make us
believe, a Brexit election while sneaking things under the table. I
think it's good people are noticing, going hold on a second. I think
there will be a U-turn. A U-turn? On the 0.7, I don't think they will go
through with it. Once they've seen a reaction like this, I don't think
the Tories will go through with it. They can't afford to be alienating
their room base. Can Theresa May afford to do such a U-turn? I would
say she can. Not only does she have to shore up centrist support and so
on, she doesn't also necessarily want to seem like a complete right
winger. Seeing as Ukip has almost collapsed, there isn't a great
threat after her right. The big threat all the parties face...
Jeremy Corbyn apart, the Tories face is low turnout. That's really the
big problem. It might come later, the question of expectation of
result. It might seem early at the beginning of the seven-week
campaign, but we can do that. I returned to
the point, all of this is kind of little bits of nit-picking detail.
That's what happens in an election campaign. It is if you concentrate
on it. The biggest question is if we as media focus down on the thing
that really matters, which is what her negotiating position is going to
be on Europe. How much money we have for everything. I want to focus on
the UK election at the moment. I mentioned Len McCluskey being
re-elected for the Unite union. How significant is that for him, in
terms of his standing? Supported by the party but not reflected in the
electorate yet? Know and I don't think it won't have any effect on
the election itself, because Unite were always going to be funding the
Labour Party, whoever was in charge. It gives him a confidence boost.
There are certain big theories among Labour MPs that even if Jeremy
Corbyn loses this general election, as it looks like he might, he will
stay on. Getting Jeremy Corbyn out of that job, even if he presides
over a catastrophic Labour Party might be very hard. It will be even
harder with Len McCluskey in charge of Unite. Kenny Darragh? Can Jeremy
win? I've been doorstepping and talking to people. I think there
will be more of an upset than people think. They are saying Jeremy is a
useless, can't win, he has no support. I've been on the road with
him, I've seen people's reaction to him. He's getting people interested
in politics who were not. I think it's so important for the Labour
Party to pull together and stop this infighting. When you actually speak
to people, that is the thing putting people off Labour. The other problem
the Labour Party might have is a lot of Labour supporters are pro-Remain
and very disappointed. I've been speaking to some people who say, we
have no choice, we will have to go to the Liberal Democrats, which is
ridiculous. It's like going back to cheating boyfriend. The last time
they campaigned on student fees and completely turned around. Does this
front-page mean the sun is backing Jeremy Corbyn? That might be
premature conclusion. Ask the editor but I think it's unlikely. Thank you
all for joining us. Now, before we finish, 70 years ago,
the Italian writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levvy published
"If This is a Man" - a memoir To mark the anniversary,
Philippe Sands and AL Kennedy, in collaboration
with the Southbank Centre, have curated a special event,
to be held a week on Sunday at the Royal Festival Hall,
featuring readings from the book. The actor Samuel West will take
part, and he's here tonight to read You who find, returning
in the evening, May your children turn
their faces from you. Hello. We had seen is in very cold
air across Europe this week and we are in for a