Front National family feud deepens after Marine Le Pen accuses father Jean-Marie of 'political suicide' after his interview with anti-Semitic magazine

Ms Le Pen said that 'with great regret' she would push for her father to be sacked as the lead FN candidate in regional elections in Provence in December

A family-sized quarrel has finally exploded in the Front National, threatening a permanent rift between Marine and Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Ms Le Pen, the leader of the French far-right party since 2011, accused her father and predecessor of  committing “political suicide” and “vulgar provocation” over his interview with an ultra-right, anti-Semitic magazine

Ms Le Pen, 46, said that “with great regret” she would push for her father to be sacked as the lead FN candidate in regional elections in Provence in December – just as she has purged other members who have failed to toe her “modernising” anti-racist party line.

Mr Le Pen, 87, has clashed with his youngest daughter in public with increasing frequency in recent months, but never have the pair set about each other with such ferocity as this.

Other senior FN officials close to Ms Le Pen even suggested that moves might be made to kick the founder and honorary president-for-life out of the party. Ms Le Pen said that she would call an emergency meeting of the party’s political bureau on Thursday or Friday.

In an interview with the magazine Rivarol, Mr Le Pen accused his daughter of “betrayal” because she had last week disowned his renewed statement that the Nazi death chambers were merely a “detail” of the history of the Second World War.

 

The far-right patriarch went on to say that he had “personally never regarded as a traitor” Field Marshal Philippe Pétain, leader of the collaborationist Vichy regime of 1940-44.

He described the Spanish-born Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, who moved to France as a teenager, as “this immigrant” and said France and other countries should join with Russia in saving “the white race and the Europe of the northern forests”.

Giving an interview to Rivarol was a deliberate act of provocation. The unabashedly ultra-right-wing and anti-Semitic magazine accuses Ms Le Pen of betraying true far-right values and surrounding herself with “Jews and gays”.

Since she became party president, Ms Le Pen has tried to make the FN acceptable to mainstream voters by removing outward signs of racism and neo-Nazism. She has also moved the party to the left on economic issues – leading her father to say in the interview that her right-hand man, Florian Philippot, was under the “nefarious” influence of Marxism.

Ms Le Pen responded to the interview with her most strongly worded attack on her father yet. “Jean-Marie Le Pen seems to be in a downward spiral somewhere between a scorched-earth policy and political suicide,” she said. “His status as honorary president does not permit him to take the Front National hostage with vulgar provocations whose objective seems to be to harm me.”

FN vice-president Louis Aliot – who is in a relationship with Ms Le Pen – said the differences with Mr Le Pen were now “irreconcilable”.

Mr Philippot tweeted: “The rupture with Jean-Marie Le Pen is now total and definitive. At Marine Le Pen’s bidding, decisions will be taken rapidly.”