France's far right National Front leader says there is not a 'hair's breadth' between it and Ukip

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The Independent Online

The leader of France's far right National Front has said there is not a "hair's breadth" between it and Ukip.

Marine Le Pen said it was "ridiculous" for Nigel Farage and others in Ukip to pretend otherwise.

Pressed on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show about why Ukip refuses to associate itself with the National Front, Ms Le Pen said: "Sorry, no, but objectively, there is, on the topic of immigration and the European Union, there is not a hair's breadth of difference between what Ukip thinks and what the National Front thinks, let's be truthful here.

"Maybe Ukip is trying to counter the demonisation they are victim of by saying 'we are the good guys and the National Front are the bad guys', they can do so, but I don't feel obliged to follow this strategy, because, frankly, I feel it's a little bit ridiculous. "

Ms Le Pen, who has led a number of polls ahead of next spring's French presidential election, denied that her party is racist, claiming that was a charge from the "elites".

The far right leader claimed that the rise of nationalism across Europe was not a mirror of the 1930s.

"What doesn't work is when you impose the same drugs on everyone, when clearly, if you will, the different countries are not suffering from the same disease, or that you want everyone to wear the same suit, but the suit will be too small and too big for everyone, except possibly for Germany, as they tailored it."

Ms Le Pen predicted her election as French president next year will be the third act of a "global revolution" which has seen Brexit and Donald Trump's seizure of the White House shake the world.

The National Front lender defended her party borrowing money from Russian banks as she praised Vladimir Putin.

She said his model of politics is "one of reasoned protectionism, looking after the interests of his country, defending his identity".

Ms Le Pen blamed the EU and US for destabilising Europe and behaving aggressively towards Russia.

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