Anglo-French summit sans spouses

A potential diplomatic banana skin has been avoided after it was confirmed there will be no official roles for political wives and partners at an Anglo-French summit.

French President Francois Hollande is due in the UK on Friday for the event a week after his split from first lady Valerie Trierweiler was announced formally.

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

"I do not think there is a spouses' programme, no," Prime Minister David Cameron's officlal spokesman told reporters.

The summit is being held at RAF Brize Norton, the air force base in Prime Minister David Cameron's Oxfordshire constituency.

Questioned about the choice of venue, the spokesman said defence co-operation played a "very important part" of such summits between the two countries.

Energy is among other subjects likely to be high on the agenda.

Number 10 also confirmed that there would be a summit press conference.

"There will be an opportunity to ask questions," the spokesman said.

There was criticism in the UK of the French media for all but ignoring the president's personal life at a recent press conference in Paris.

Ms Trierweiler - who was hospitalised by what aides called shock and the blues at seeing reports of the affair - has now embarked on a long-planned visit to India.

Her role as first lady is expected to be formally ended this week.

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