Hollande silent on private life

Ealing Times: French president Francois Hollande during a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron during a one-day summit at RAF Brize Norton French president Francois Hollande during a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron during a one-day summit at RAF Brize Norton

French president Francois Hollande has refused to respond to questions about his private life, after being asked by a British reporter whether rumours about an affair were making his country an "international joke".

Mr Hollande ended a seven-year relationship with former first lady Valerie Trierweiler after a media report - which he has not denied - that he was having an affair with actress Julie Gayet.

The French media have come in for criticism from some of their British counterparts for failing to take up opportunities to ask the president about the alleged affair since the story broke earlier this month.

There were no questions on the issue from French reporters when Mr Hollande appeared alongside David Cameron at a press conference after the UK-France summit at RAF Brize Norton.

But the senior political correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, Christopher Hope, addressed the issue directly in his question to Mr Hollande: "Monsieur le President, I know this is a very sensitive subject for you.

"Do you think your private life has made France an international joke, are you still having an affair with Julie Gayet and do you wish she was here?"

After delivering a long response to an earlier question relating to the renegotiation of EU treaties, Mr Hollande replied with the terse comment: "In regard to your last question, I'm afraid I decline to answer."

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