I’m nobody’s marionette: latest Le Pen joins far-Right royalty

“One big problem is this law allowing illegal immigrants to have their medical care reimbursed 100 per cent, a measure that costs us E600 million a year,” Marion Marechal-Le Pen says. “One French person in three is having trouble paying for medical care and 40 per cent of our disabled are living below the poverty line. Meanwhile, the government is asking for more efforts from all of us. And here we are doling out gifts to illegal immigrants. It’s not reasonable. I’ve always thought that charity should begin at home.”


Marion Marechal-Le Pen, who is doing a law degree while learning the ropes as an MP, says she felt apprehensive at first about entering a parliament so hostile to her party.

The Front has not had seats in parliament since the late 1980s.

Everyone has been kind to her, she says, with the exception of Jean-Francois Cope, leader of the centre-right party, who had refused to shake her hand.

“It was not very polite of him,” she says. “The French are very much attached to courtesy, particularly towards women. It didn’t go down well.”

Mademoiselle Le Pen, as they refer to her at the Front’s desk, has blonde hair similar to her aunt’s, but not the foghorn voice, and could not be more different from the grandfather who loved provoking the politically correct Parisian elite.

In trousers and a jacket, she is all business but cannot disguise her delight about the office that she has been allotted, which overlooks a leafy square. She is unimpressed, though, by the level of parliamentary discourse.

“They scream and shout and call each other names,” she says. “How can they demand citizens’ respect for the highest level of institutions when they behave like that?”

She marvels, too, at the amount of money she is being paid: her monthly salary of E7100 ($8321) is supplemented by E6412 for expenses. However, she is under no obligation to detail what she spends it on – “it’s a lot of money, too much, even” – and recently supported an amendment calling for more transparency. It was voted down.

She also gave her support to a tougher sexual harassment law that was approved in parliament last month and struck a popular chord in her maiden speech to parliament by arguing that taxpayers should not foot the bill for the “endless greed of the sharks of international finance”.


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