France election: Possibility of Le Pen victory discussed by expert
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Mr Macron has been branded the “continuity candidate” in the French election, which will come to a head tomorrow, on April 24. To Britain, however, Ms Le Pen has been tipped to be as hostile as her opponent.
Businessman and former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib said the National Rally leader would “rightly put France first”.
This, he added, would be no good thing for Britain given Brexit is “not great for French interests” so long as France remains in the EU.
Ms Le Pen’s position on the Brussels bloc has changed somewhat since she failed to achieve presidential office in 2017.
She remains the most critical of the two candidates of the EU and its diktats, but insists France would be better inside the bloc, where it can work to transform it into a club of “cooperating sovereign nations”.
Mr Habib told Express.co.uk: “I do not think it would make much of a difference either way to Brexit who wins the French presidency.
“Le Pen is a Eurosceptic but I do not believe she is a genuine believer in ‘Frexit’.
“She is also fiercely patriotic and Brexit is not great for French interests for as long as it is in the EU and intends to stay there.”
Ms Le Pen is widely understood to be more sympathetic to Brexit, but, it appears, is no more likely than Mr Macron to treat Britain better because of it.
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Perhaps the main difference between the two, Mr Habib suggested, was tone.
He said: “Macron is bound to be overtly anti-British. He always has been and he uses that to whip up support for himself.
“Le Pen may prove to be less vocal than him but it would be a mistake to think she would genuinely be kinder to the UK.”
This, however, the former MEP said on the basis of Ms Le Pen not, at least privately, believing in France leaving the EU.
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Some pundits have suggested the National Rally leader has only diluted her nationalist message in order to appease voters ahead of the election.
Others have highlighted her very view of France’s optimal relationship with the bloc would lead to an exit at some stage, intentional or otherwise.
In this week’s televised debate, the incumbent President insisted Ms Le Pen’s support for a bloc of “cooperating sovereign nations” means “it would no longer be the European Union”.
Market analysts have also suggested she could, if election, force Frexit “by accident” because of the economic shock prompted by her victory.
Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets, said: “It could be bigger than Brexit. It could be bigger than Trump, if Le Pen prevails.”
If this is the case, Mr Habib stressed “she would need and welcome an alliance with us”.
He added: “Together, the UK and France could become the dominant force in Europe. It would be the end of the EU.”
But the businessman warned this was a limited possibility, and that it is far more likely France’s relations with Britain will remain much the same whoever comes on top on Sunday.
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