Nigel Farage has come out in support of Marine Le Pen ahead of the final round of France’s presidential elections, penning an op-ed in support of the far-right candidate.
The former UKIP leader has previously criticised Le Pen’s Front National party for its “prejudice and antisemitism”. However, in his Telegraph column, Farage has suggested that Le Pen is neither a racist nor an anti-semite, and claimed she will help Britain by bringing down the EU.
Farage said he never wanted to form an alliance with Le Pen’s Front National party while leader of UKIP, because “anti-semitism was embedded in its DNA” under her father, Jean-Marie.
However he believes Marine Le Pen has made a number of fundamental changes to the party since taking over in 2011, as she “wanted the FN to be more like UKIP than the BNP.”
He continued by saying “there is nothing she has said in this entire election campaign that I find unreasonable or extreme. Instead, she has a more rational line on Islam than many Eurosceptic parties across the Continent.”
Turning to Brexit, Farage wrote that Le Pen “will destroy the EU” and “take much pressure off our negotations.”
Farage is no longer formally involved in UKIP, and has faced criticism from several people within the party since stepping down as leader last year.
The party’s current leader, Paul Nuttall, has remained silent on the French elections and there is no evidence to suggest that he is also backing Le Pen.