Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front is to travel to London to campaign in favour of Britain leaving the European Union (EU).
She will be joining disgraced former UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson, who was ejected from the party over a false expenses claim and now sits within the ‘Europe of Nations and Freedom’ group in the European Parliament, alongside National Front members.
Ms. Le Pen’s visit is likely to be primarily aimed at a French audience – she speaks little English – but is unlikely to please Ms. Atkinson’s former party leader, Nigel Farage, who has fallen out with Ms. Le Pen over accusations of anti-Semitism within her party.
Nonetheless, “No date has been set but she will definitely be going to London,” Alain Vizier, her communications chief, has confirmed. She is expected to stay for a day and a half.
Ms. Le Pen has long been vocal in France in her support of a Brexit, which she believes would herald the end of the European Union and usher in a new period of freedom for the people of Europe.
Campaigning before the last European elections in 2014, when asked how she would improve the EU she responded: “By making it collapse . . . I expect one thing only from the European system and that’s for it to blow up.”
Last year she again expressed enthusiasm for the downfall of Brussels, sparked by Brexit, comparing it to the fall of the Berlin Wall:
“Brexit would be marvellous – extraordinary – for all European peoples who long for freedom… Objectively, it will be the beginning of the end of the European Union,” she said.
“I compare Brussels to the Berlin Wall. If Great Britain knocks down part of the wall, it’s finished, it’s over.”
More recently she commended the British Prime Minister David Cameron for entering into talks to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU, pledging that if her party is electorally successful: “we will enter into negotiations with the European Union over the euro and Schengen. That’s exactly what Great Britain is doing.”
And earlier this week she told a conference of fellow nationalists that she hoped all the European member states would soon have the opportunity to follow Britain’s lead and have their own referendums on EU membership.
“The British will vote in two months, this is a key moment in European history,” she said. “I also hope the French will not have to wait too long for a similar opportunity. I hope that all peoples can express themselves on this subject.”
However, a referendum on a ‘Frexit’ would not necessarily be successful. While 53 percent of French people support holding a referendum along similar lines to that of the British vote, just 33 percent of French actually want to leave the EU, against 45 percent who would vote to remain, with 22 percent undecided, according to a University of Edinburgh poll.
Four in ten would, however, like to see the British vote to leave – the highest of any other nation within the EU – because they think the EU has become too English.