Le Pen victory in France would be ‘body blow’ to EU, Cameron says

David Cameron

David Cameron

Britain’s former prime minister David Cameron said Saturday that a win for Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election next year would deliver a “body blow” to Europe, adding that he hoped a mainstream party would unite French voters.

“If France were to elect Marine Le Pen, that would be obviously a very big body blow for the European project,” he said at a conference in New Delhi organised by the Hindustan Times. Instead, Cameron said he hoped for the victory of “a mainstream party that can unite people behind their candidacy”.

Polls show that Le Pen is likely to make it to the second round of the April-May 2017 presidential vote before being defeated by Les Républicains candidate François Fillon.

Cameron said that Western Europe had seen a recent rise in “anti-system, populist” and “quite extreme political parties”. This trend highlighted the need to make a “major course correction” to address Europe’s current economic and social challenges.

We “need to understand very profoundly the things that have happened, that have caused the events you have seen in Europe and the wider world in the last one year”, he added.

Cameron resigned as prime minister in June after he lost a high-stakes gamble by staking his political future on a national referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union.

“I still believe it would have been better for Britain to remain inside the EU,” he said.

“Our neighbours, our partners, our friends and our allies and I wanted us to stay in the room with them (EU nations) when they make decisions that affect us and our continent,” Cameron added.