IMF head Christine Lagarde is a 'very seductive politician', says BBC's Robert Peston
ROBERT Peston, the BBC's business editor, admitted on air to being charmed by the "seductive" head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde.
Mr Peston, who is normally the broadcaster's straight-talking expert on the economy, was left fumbling for words while discussing Mrs Lagarde on Radio 4's PM programme.
The 52-year-old journalist was discussing the IMF's scrutiny of the British economy and told presenter Eddie Mair that the its managing director had given the UK a "C or C minus".
He went on to say: "But she is one of the most charming politicians in the world," according to the Daily Mail.
He continued: "And in her sort of silken way she ...," before Mr Mair interrupted him and said, "Are you smitten?"
Mr Peston, a married father-of-two, replied: "I have to say I’ve met her a few times and she’s a very seductive politician, let’s put it that way."
Trying to recover his composure, the journalist said: "Desperately trying to get back to the matter in hand … no she, er, said … I’ve completely lost my place, I need a glass of water … and you know ...".
After discussing her comments on the Government's plan to cut the deficit, Mr Mair then played a clip in which Mrs Lagarde said: "When I think back to May 2010 when the UK deficit was at 11 per cent and I try to imagine what the situation would be like today if no such fiscal consolidation programme had been delivered, I shiver."
The host then suggested to Mr Peston: "It was that bit that got you, wasn’t it?" To which he replied: "It was the frisson at the end, yes."
Mrs Lagarde took over as IMF chief from Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 2011, becoming the first woman to hold the position.
The 56-year-old former French finance minister was raised by her mother and grandmother after her father died when she was a teenager.
Two years ago, the Financial Times named her the best economy minister in the world while she was ranked the 17th most important woman by Forbes.