KEIR Starmer has said he will work with Marine Le Pen's right-wing National Rally party on small boats if they end up forming the next French government.

The Labour leader said he would work "with any government in Europe and across the world" to resolve the situation when asked by reporters. 

Speaking in Buckinghamshire, Starmer said: “I will work with any government in Europe and across the world if we are elected in to serve the country.

“For me, that’s what serious government is about. So yes, we will work with whoever.

“I do think it is important that we make the progressive case to meet the challenges that we face across Europe and across the world.”

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Starmer added that a victory for Le Pen’s party would not damage Labour’s goal of negotiating a “better deal” with the European Union, instead suggesting that the rise of nationalist parties meant they had to show that progressives have the answers to the concerns of disaffected voters.

Pressed on Le Pen’s preference for bilateral deals instead of EU-wide ones, Starmer said he believes both are vital to addressing the small boat crisis and are not “mutually exclusive". 

He continued: “Some of the agreements we've got with France are bilateral in any event. I think they need to be stronger and better and deeper, particularly in relation to smashing the gangs that are running the vile trade of putting people into boats.

"But there are also EU measures. The security agreement we want with the EU when it comes to dealing with smuggling gangs is really important."

On Sunday evening protests broke out across France after Le Pen’s party secured the biggest vote share in the first round of voting in the parliamentary elections.

President Emmanuel Macron called a surprise vote last month when his centrist alliance was beaten in the European elections by National Rally.

The first-round results suggest National Rally and their allies are on track to win the most seats in the National Assembly and potentially even an outright majority in the final round of voting on July 7.