or 18 years, I have sat in the European Parliament and looked on in wonderment at Jean-Marie Le Pen’s regular lunchtime table. Politics aside, when it comes to a good lunch with food, wine and company, he is certainly a true Frenchman.
At no point in time did I want Ukip to do a deal with the French National Front (FN). The party’s roots were deep in Vichy and I believed anti-Semitism was embedded in its DNA. All this made it the wrong place for Ukip to be. I’ve always seen Jean-Marie Le Pen as the modern-day Chauvin.
Then, in January 2011, an overwhelming vote of FN members saw Marine Le Pen become leader – beating Holocaust-denying Bruno Gollnisch. From the start, she wanted the FN to be more like Ukip than the BNP. I was told that this would be a nightmare for me.