French far-right leader Marine Le Pen stokes Frexit fears as she hails how ‘Britain gave the Europeans a dazzling lesson in democracy’

 Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen

The leader of the National Front in France has hailed Britain’s decision to leave the EU – and has called for France to hold a similar referendum.
Britons went to the polls to vote on the country’s future relationship with the union on Thursday, with 51.9 per cent of more than 33 million votes going to the Leave camp.
Speaking during a press conference with a backdrop saying ‘Brexit – and now France’, Marine Le Pen said the choice for Britain to leave was a ‘historic moment’.

She said: ‘That which no-one dared to dream about a few months back is now a reality which is clear to everyone: yes, it’s possible to leave the EU.
‘The British people have given to the Europeans, and also the world, a dazzling lesson in democracy.’

She added the European question would be ‘at the heart of the next French presidential elections’ which are due to take place in April and May next year.
She said: ‘I’ve been calling for a referendum of the same kind (in France) since 2013’, and repeated her desire to hold a poll after six months of negotiations with Brussels.
Meanwhile, French president Francois Hollande described the result as ‘painful’ and added that the EU needed ‘profound change’ to address its issues.
He said: ‘This was their choice and we must respect it.

‘The decision from Britain requires Europe to become aware of shortcomings in the way it works as well as the loss of confidence in the project.
‘A jolt is needed. The people are expecting the EU to reaffirm its values, values of liberty, tolerance and peace.
‘I will do everything to secure profound change rather than decline.’
The French president said he would meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday for urgent talks ahead of a scheduled European Council summit in Brussels where leaders will discuss the fallout from the vote.