EU referendum: Marine Le Pen to campaign for Brexit on UK visit

The arrival of the French far right leader is unlikely to delight the more mainstream Brexiteers

John Lichfield
Wednesday 20 April 2016 16:01 BST
Ms Le Pen, like other French nationalist politicians, is a keen supporter of Brexit
Ms Le Pen, like other French nationalist politicians, is a keen supporter of Brexit

The French far right leader Marine Le Pen is to come to Britain in the next couple of weeks to campaign for Brexit.

Ms Le Pen, whose arrival is unlikely to delight mainstream Brexiteers, will appear alongside the former UKIP Euro MP, Janice Atkinson, who belongs to the same group as the French Front National in Strasbourg.

Ms Le Pen, like other French nationalist politicians, is a keen supporter of Brexit because she believe that it would start a chain reaction of decomposition of the European Union.

Who is Marine Le Pen?

“(British departure) will prove that it is possible to live outside the European Union. Either we are free or we are not,” Ms Le Pen said recently.

Ms Atkinson, Euro MP for south east England, was expelled from UKIP in March last year after her chief of staff was alleged to have tried to inflate her European Parliament expenses. Police have since decided to take no further action.

Ms Le Pen’s presence on the Brexit campaign is likely to irritate UKIP and other pro-departure campaigners.The UKIP leader Nigel Farage has fallen out with Le Pen in recent years and has described her party as racist and anti-semitic.

Ms Le Pen speaks little English. Her trip to Britain will probably be dismissed by Brexiteers as largely for internal French political consumption.

Meanwhile, a new opinion poll for the French centre-right newspaper Le Figaro shows large to overwhelming majorities against Brexit in four large, continental EU nations. According to the TNS poll even French voters – divided in another survey recently – are 59 to 41 per cent against British departure.

Voters in Poland, surprisingly in view of the large number of Poles living in Britain, were the most lukewarm of the countries polled. They were were 54 per cent for continuing British membership, 39 per cent against and 7 percent undecided.

Voters in Germany were an overwhelming 78 per cent for British membership of the EU and Spanish voters 67 per cent for. A simultaneous poll in the UK put the two sides almost neck and neck – 38 percent for the EU, 34 per cent against and 28 per cent undecided.

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