Media and students mob French presidential hopeful in London

There was a lot of excitement about VIP visitors at a top London university on Wednesday. First the Queen graced King's College with her presence, then there was a speech from French presidential poll frontrunner François Hollande, who was mobbed by media and students like Europe’s version of President Barack Obama.

Socialist opposition leader Hollande spoke passionately and at length about his Europhile credentials which, he said, would make him good for all of the troubled continent and not just France if he won. His host, Professor Nick Butler, head of the Policy Institutes (plural) at King’s, caused a stir when he quipped he had better not express support for Hollande because endorsement from a British person for a French presidential hopeful would be as useful as him getting backing from a German.

Butler stood as a Labour parliamentary candidate in Lincoln years ago and was itching to publicly back fellow left-winger Hollande’s bid to unseat conservative French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

* Photograph: Marc