Ukip's Nigel Farage Welcomed By Marine Le Pen, France's National Front Leader, With 'Open Arms'

The leader of France's far-right National Front says her "arms will be open" to Ukip if it wants to join together to fight the European Union.

However, Marine Le Pen said she did not see UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage as part of her movement anymore and said an invitation for the party to be part of her campaign was no longer open.

But when asked if she would be open to work with Farage in the future, she told the BBC's Newsnight: "I am above personal considerations and any harm people try to inflict on us.

"My concern is the interests of the European people. My arms will be open as long as it's in the interest of the European people for us to join together in a common project to fight the European Union."

Ukip told the BBC it is not interested in any deal with Le Pen or her party, adding this is particularly because of "prejudice and anti-Semitism" in the National Front.

In an earlier interview, however, Farage praised Le Pen for taking her party to "new highs, and is achieving remarkable things in this country.

"I make no bones about it, she's got some good qualities," he said.

But Le Pen said Farage has no intention of being part of a joint group "for reasons I don't agree with".

In the past she has said the FN had "political relations" with Farge's party as the two have similar views.

In a controversial speech in 2013 she said: "If I felt my options were closer to the BNP I would be in contact with the BNP, but I am in contact with UKIP."

On Thursday, asked what she made of Farage, she said: "I think he's undoubtedly a charismatic leader. He has a message that people really want to hear and which is based on a correct reading of the situation.

"We do have our differences - for example, on the economy - there's no doubt about that.

"But I do think there is something he's missing, and that's the seriousness of the situation our continent finds itself in.

"If he understood how serious the EU's situation is, he would support the collaboration of all patriotic movements, and he wouldn't resort to tactics and strategy."

Le Pen's anti-immigrant party made historic gains in France's recent municipal elections, which was seen as a significant electoral breakthrough for the party.

Ukip, meanwhile, have found a new French ally.

The BBC reported this week that Farage was greeted by chants of "Nigel! Nigel! Nigel!" as he attended the launch of a fellow Eurosceptic party's 2014 campaign.

Debout la Republique (DLR: Stand up, the Republic!) is the political vehicle of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, a 52-year-old dissident Gaullist who feels the mainstream centre-right UMP party has sold out to Brussels.

The BBC wrote: "Dupont-Aignan was almost pathetically keen to be seen at the Ukip leader's side, insisting he come back to the stage for a triumphant hand-in-upraised-hand pose for the cameras."

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