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British media’s U-turn on Marine Le Pen’s ‘endorsement’ of Theresa May

Published: October 6, 2016, 3:54 pm

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    The British media were abuzz on Thursday morning after Prime Minister Theresa May had seemingly received a complimentary tweet from French politician Marine Le Pen on the subject of national identity. May told a Conservative Party conference on Wednesday that mass immigration was driving down wages and that Brexit would make Britain “a fully sovereign and independent country”.

    May added further: “If you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere,” which prompted a Marine Le Pen supporter – but not herself – to tweet:

    The British media soon sprang into action, with The Independent, as well as the British Huffington Post considering that Marine Le Pen’s “approval” of May’s speech was “embarassing” for the prime minister. The Independent wrote under the headline “Europe’s biggest far-right leader just endorsed Theresa May”:

    “One of the most controversial comments of Theresa May’s Conservative conference speech has received a ringing endorsement from French far right leader, Marine Le Pen.”

    The shadow secretary for education from the Labour Party, Angela Rayner, among other public figures, denounced Theresa May’s statement, implying that the Conservative Party had moved further to the right.

    However, a few hours later, after it came to light in French tweets that Marine Le Pen’s official Twitter account had been silent on the subject of the British premier’s speech, the London Guardian carried a piece setting the record straight under the headline, “No, Marine Le Pen did not endorse Theresa May’s speech on Twitter with a handclap emoji”.

    The Independent, now embarassed itself, promptly removed its original article, with the original page and URL offering an apology for its “mistake”.

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