Le Pen furious over dad’s ‘gas chamber’ comments

Marine Le Pen has again been forced to distance herself from her father Jean-Marie, who founded the National Front party that she now leads, after he reaffirmed his view that the "gas chambers were just a detail of World War Two".

Le Pen furious over dad's 'gas chamber' comments

It promises to be a fraught Easter in the Le Pen household as well as among the leadership of France's far-right National Front party.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, one of the founding fathers of the National Front and a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), once again risked causing outrage controversy on Thursday when he told French TV that he stuck by his inflammatory views about the holocaust.

In an interview with BFM TV Le Pen senior said that he stuck by the infamous words uttered in 1987 that the "gas chambers were "just a detail" of World War Two.

Le Pen senior, who has numerous convictions for hate speech, said he never regretted saying the words, telling BFM TV: “I continue to uphold the view because I think it is the truth and it should not shock anyone. 

"They have exploited this affair against me implying this is about anti-Semitism. But I defy anyone to quote me on anything anti-Semitic I have said in my political career.”

However Le Pen the younger, who has been desperate to improve the image of the party her father founded, moved quickly to rubbish her father's views.

She told Europe1 radio that she "profoundly disagrees" with her father and distanced herself with anything he said.

“There is nothing new here. I am in deep disagreement with Jean-Marie Le Pen,” she said. 

Le Pen also criticized her father for his repeated attempts to stoke controversy just to get attention for him and the party.

"He thinks that the controversy is positive for the movement. Obviously, I profoundly disagree with that. I have said it again and again and again," she said.

"His words are just his own. He purposefully provokes and looks for controversy," said Le Pen, who suggested she had "given up" trying to bring her father into line.

Marine Le Pen has led a drive in recent years to "de-demonize" the National Front by ridding it of some its more shady characters, in a bid to make it more electable.

The drive has paid off as can be seen by recent election results but that doesn't mean she is able to ditch her father just yet.

Unfortunately for her he still has strong support among many of the more traditional National Front voters, especially in the party's southern heartland.

Jean-Marie Le Pen is former soldier who fought in Indochina and Algeria and helped found the FN in 1972. He led the party until 2011 when his daughter took over the leadership of the party.
By Chloe Farand