French far-right leader Marine Le Pen to campaign for Brexit
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Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front (FN) party, is planning to visit the UK in the coming weeks to campaign in favour of Britain leaving the European Union.
The FN’s head of communication, Alain Vizier, told FRANCE 24 that “while no date has been set, she will definitely be going to London”.
Le Pen is an MEP whose party is virulently anti-Europe and anti-immigration. She has said she would organise a referendum in France on leaving the EU if she were to come to power. Her party has been monitoring the British referendum closely, hoping for a pro-Brexit vote that would give a boost to the FN agenda at home.
"Every nation in Europe has the right to be asked that question: 'Do you want to stay in this [EU] structure ... or not?'," Le Pen told Radio Classique in an interview on Monday. "The first step was organised by [British Prime Minister David] Cameron."
One possibility would be for Le Pen to campaign with Janice Atkinson, a former EU lawmaker from the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) who is part of Le Pen's Europe of Nations and Freedom Group in the European Parliament.
However, Le Pen’s presence on the campaign trail is not likely to please UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who has distanced himself from her support in the past, describing the FN as anti-Semitic.
A recent opinion poll has shown that most European nationals hope Britain remains a member of the bloc. A TNS survey published Wednesday showed that six out of 10 French citizens are hoping Britons vote to remain, although 52 percent believe they will choose to leave.
The same poll showed 78 percent of Germans and two-thirds of the Spanish also want Britain to stay.
The question will be put to a referendum on June 23, when the British public will vote on whether to stay part of the 28-member union or strike out alone.
According to an Ipsos MORI poll published in London’s Evening Standard newspaper Wednesday, support to remain in the EU stands at 49 percent, 10 points ahead of the “Out” campaign.
For her part, French opinion polls show Le Pen topping the first round of presidential elections next year unless the centre-right Les Republicains (formerly the UMP) party nominates former prime minister Alain Juppé. But Le Pen is projected to lose the second round and ultimately the presidency.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
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