In a speech in Versailles, France’s centrist leader seized his moment. The contrast with Theresa May’s agenda is a sobering one

Emmanuel Macron went to the Palace of Versailles on Monday and proclaimed a French revolution. For those with a feel for French history, this juxtaposition of venue and idea was rich in irony. But the French president’s speech to the newly elected parliament and the senate was one that matters in the here and now, not just in the republic itself but across Europe – and in Britain, too.

In one sense, Mr Macron’s address was familiar for those who have studied his rise. There were few new policy commitments. Those that he made – they included a reduction in the size of the national assembly and other state bodies plus, importantly, the lifting later this year of France’s post-Bataclan state of emergency – were familiar from his presidential campaign. There will be more detail when France’s prime minister, Édouard Philippe, outlines the government’s legislative programme on Tuesday.

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