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Inside politics

Wooing “Meloni-the-Monster”

Giorgia Meloni: not such a monster after all? Valeria Ferraro/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty

When Giorgia Meloni became prime minister of Italy, the outside world went into “shock”, says Fraser Nelson in The Daily Telegraph. The “most right-wing Italian leader since Mussolini”, was, people said, a closet member of the “far right”, even a “post-fascist”. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU was standing by with the “tools” to deal with her, should the need arise. But aside from her believing in God and declaring herself “a woman”, there’s little evidence to support the “Meloni-the-Monster” analysis. In her first six months in office, she has in fact proved a “stabilising force in Europe”.

This may explain why Rishi Sunak has been on an “Italian charm offensive”. Several of Meloni’s top lieutenants have visited London in recent months, while James Cleverly, Ben Wallace and Kemi Badenoch have all travelled to Rome. When avowed Anglophile Meloni visited Downing Street this week, Sunak set aside three hours for her, “almost a record, by British standards”.