Victory for Emmanuel Macron in the French presidential race has kept the far-right “wolves from our door”, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said.
Mr Macron’s defeat of National Front leader Marine Le Pen was not just a victory for France but for “the liberal values we hold dear”, he said.
His comments came after Downing Street said Theresa May “warmly congratulates” the En Marche movement leader for his election victory.
In a statement, a Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister warmly congratulates President-elect Macron on his election success. France is one of our closest allies and we look forward to working with the new president on a wide range of shared priorities.”
As the leader of one of Europe’s major powers, Mr Macron will be a key player in the diplomatic wrangling over Brexit in the coming months and Number 10 will be keen to establish a good relationship with the new president.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “I am delighted that the French people have decisively rejected Le Pen’s politics of hate.”
Mr Farron said: “I would like to congratulate Emmanuel Macron on his election as France’s new president. This is not just a victory for France but a victory for Britain and the liberal values we hold dear.
“A National Front win would have posed a grave threat to our national interest. Emmanuel Macron has kept the wolves from our door, but we must never be complacent in the fight against racism, fascism and the far-right.”
With an eye on the June 8 General Election, he added: “The liberal values of tolerance, openness and free trade that triumphed in France today can triumph in Britain too.
“Together we can change Britain’s future, stand up to Theresa May’s hard Brexit agenda and keep our country open, tolerant and united.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who travelled to Paris for talks with Mr Macron in March, said: “The French people have chosen hope over fear and unity over division.”
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who backed Ms Le Pen’s bid for the Elysee Palace, said: “Macron offers five more years of failure, more power to the EU and a continuation of open borders. If Marine sticks in there, she can win in 2022.”
European Council president Donald Tusk said on Twitter: “Congratulations to French people for choosing liberty, equality and fraternity over tyranny of fake news.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Vive La France. Congratulations to new President, Emmanuel Macron on his decisive victory over the hard right.”
European Jewish Congress president Moshe Kantor said: “This was a vote for France, for the European Union and for democratic values.
“Never has a major European country faced such a challenge to its most basic value system of tolerance and democracy since all of Western Europe was dominated by fascism in the Second World War. We applaud the French people for facing this challenge with the full force of French democracy and the core values of the republic.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff Peter Altmaier congratulated Mr Macron with a tweet saying: “Long live France, long live Europe!”
Her chief spokesman Steffen Seibert said it is a victory “for a strong and united Europe”.