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The appearance of Marine Le Pen, largely considered France’s answer to Donald Trump, has caused an outcry in the U.K. after she was interviewed on Sunday’s BBC’s weekly political program The Andrew Marr Show.
Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party, said that Trump’s victory marks the “building of a new world” and improves her chances of winning the presidential contest in France next year.
Le Pen has previously suggested that France expel foreigners who preach hate speech, as well as strip Islamists and those convicted of terrorism of citizenship, among other proposals.
Last year she was acquitted of inciting hate speech after remarks she made were interpreted as comparing Muslims to Nazis. “For those who really like to talk about the Second World War, if we’re talking about occupation,” she said during a rally, “this is an occupation of territory. It’s an occupation of swaths of territory, of areas in which religious laws apply…for sure, there are no tanks, no soldiers, but it’s an occupation all the same, and it weighs on people.”
That the interview with such a controversial figure was aired on Remembrance Sunday in the U.K., a holiday similar to Veterans’ Day, honoring the soldiers of the Commonwealth who fought in the two World Wars, was particularly upsetting to some viewers.
So inflammatory was her presence on British TV screens on the holiday that host Marr defended his decision to air the interview ahead of the broadcast. “Some people are offended and upset that I have been to interview Marine Le Pen and that we’re showing this interview on Remembrance Sunday,” Marr said, noting that she could very well become the next president of France.
“This week, in the immediate aftermath of the Trump victory, she has declared that the whole world has changed and that her brand of politics is on the march,” he continued. “In the end we are a news program, and I don’t think the best way to honor the fallen is to fail to report on the next big challenge to Western security.”
Politicians including opposition Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, MP Angela Rayner and MP Tristram Hunt expressed their anger on Twitter.
— Jeremy Corbyn for PM (@JeremyCorbyn4PM) November 13, 2016
Marine Le Pen speaking on #Marr Remembrance Sunday? Why not interview our veterans who fought fascists&lost so many comrades?So wrong BBC!
— Angela Rayner MP (@AngelaRayner) November 12, 2016
As we commemorate those who gave their lives fighting fascism, it is pretty grotesque to have Marine Le Pen on #marr on Remembrance Sunday.
— Tristram Hunt (@TristramHuntMP) November 13, 2016
Viewers also expressed their disgust with the interview and its timing, some using the #StopFundingHate, noting that the BBC is run with public funds.
— Alan Ferrier (@alanferrier) November 13, 2016
— Otto English (@Otto_English) November 12, 2016
In her interview, Le Pen said that Trump’s victory, combined with June’s Brexit vote in the U.K., are the start of a “global revolution.”
“Clearly, Donald Trump’s victory is an additional stone in the building of a new world, destined to replace the old one,” she said. “The elections are essentially referendums against the unfettered globalization that has been imposed on us…and which today clearly shows its limits.”
Le Pen said Trump’s victory “made possible what had previously seemed impossible.”
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