Theresa May will NOT meet with Marine Le Pen despite Kent MEP offer to facilitate introduction
PUBLISHED: 14:01 21 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:12 21 February 2017
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Janice Atkinson said victory for the far-right leader in the French election would make the county a safer place
Theresa May has no plans to meet with Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate for the French presidency, despite a Kent MEP’s offer to facilitate an introduction, a spokesperson has confirmed.
Janice Atkinson, an independent MEP and former Ukip candidate in Folkestone and Hythe, told us last month Kent would be a safer place if Mme Le Pen swept to victory this spring.
She also offered to be a bridge between the prime minister and her personal friend, in a similar offer to that made by Nigel Farage, who has pushed for an ambassadorial role to take advantage of his close links with US president Donald Trump.
It comes as the French election’s front-runner, Emmanuel Macron, arrives for talks at Downing Street as part of a visit to London in which he hopes to rally support among up to 400,000 French ex-pats in the capital.
French citizens overseas are entitled to vote in this spring’s election to find a replacement for Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace.
However, a Number Ten spokesman said that while no other candidates had yet requested a meeting with Mrs May, there was a long-standing government policy not to engage with the National Front party, led by Mme Le Pen, who is widely expected to reach the second-round run-off with Mr Macron.
Responding to the meeting this week, Ms Atkinson told us: “This is very wrong of Mrs May if she is willing to meet a far left politician who contributed to France’s economic disability and has never been elected before, just appointed - he’s a chancer.
“Mrs May is short-sighted and showing a distinct lack of political nous, partisanship and rudeness.
“I wonder why some Conservative MPs have contacted me to show they do not support their leader’s crassness.”
Ms Atkinson did not reveal the names of the MPs in question nor if she knew whether Mme Le Pen had similar plans to visit the UK in the coming weeks.
Mme Le Pen caused controversy this week when she refused to go into a meeting with Lebanon’s grand mufti after his aides asked her to wear a headscarf.
“She’s standing up for feminism, this is what the real face of feminism looks like,” Ms Atkinson added.
Mr Farage, who until recently lived in Westerham, has long suggested the government has underestimated the far-right leader, after warning of a “revolution” across Europe last week.
He tweeted: “Is Theresa May making the same mistake she made with Trump by refusing to meet Le Pen?”
Ukip leader of Thanet District Council, Chris Wells, shared similar views, saying: “In Britain, in America, and soon in France it is the frustration of working people with false promise that is the winner right now - something Tories lamentably fail to understand.”