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Marine Le Pen; Florian Philippot (Wikipedia)

Le Pen’s former aid launches Frexit party

Florian Philippot, former aid to Marine Le Pen's National Front, held the first congress of his new movement.

Published: February 19, 2018, 8:56 am

    Philippot spoke at his new party’s congress, the launching of the Patriotes on Sunday in the city of Arras, north of Paris.

    “We are building a new force, credible, working, capable of exercising power,” the member of the European Parliament (MEP) for eastern France told his audience.

    “Massive immigration can no longer continue,” he added, “because it dries up entire regions, in the countries of origin, it is the opposite of the compassion that we owe to the poorest of all humanity.”

    Philippot left the FN because of his anti-euro policy which many say had cost Le Pen too many votes during the last election. In the wake of that disappointment, the FN has toned down its anti-Europe rhetoric.

    Nigel Farage was to address the members by video link, but his audience was not that big. Only some 500 people attended the congress. David Coburn, an MEP and leader of Ukip in Scotland, spoke at the congress.

    Le Pen expressed her misgivings about her former aid’s ambitions. “Florian Philippot is not a leader; his movement will not exist,” Le Pen said on Sunday.

    Philippot wants France to leave the EU, in what has been dubbed “Frexit” but his call to leave the eurozone last year had failed to resonate with French voters unlike Brexit in the UK.

    Northwestern France is also a Le Pen stronghold. She has been a deputy of the National Assembly for a Pas-de-Calais constituency since June 18, 2017. The town of Arras is situated in the department of Pas-de-Calais.

    There are already several patriotic parties in France, two of them led by former presidential candidates – Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who backed Le Pen in the presidential deciding round, and François Asselineau, whose campaign was centred on Frexit.

    Philippot will be trying to keep his seat in the European parliament, along with Sophie Montel and Mireille d’Ornano, in order to claim election expenses.

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