- Marine Le Pen is expected to win the first round of Presidential elections
- She disagrees with Francois Hollande's belief that Britain should 'pay the price' for Brexit
- Le Pen was expected to push for a French leave vote, but now favours reform
- She branded France the 'political heart of Europe' and called for the euro to be scrapped
Britain should not be punished for 'escaping the EU prison', and France should carve out a new cross-channel relationship after Brexit, according to far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
The National Front leader is expected to win the first round of Presidential elections, picking up 26 per cent of the vote, according to a poll released yesterday.
And she has said that if she is elected President, she will reverse incumbent Francois Hollande's belief that Britain should 'pay the price' for Brexit.
Le Pen has called for the euro to be scrapped, tighter controls of borders for EU members, and the right to impose trade barriers.
She also plans a clampdown on migrant workers if she becomes President, but says a French referendum to leave the European Union should be a last resort if reform efforts fail.
France should carve out a new relationship with post-Brexit Britain, French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has said
French President Francois Hollande, who is not standing for re-election, said Britain would have to 'pay the price' for Brexit
A poll by Itop Fiducial yesterday predicted that Le Pen will win the first round of the election, with rivals Emmanuel Macron winning 19.5 per cent of the vote and Francois Fillon getting 18.5 per cent.
But in the runoff election, Macron is tipped to pick up 62 per cent of the vote against her 38 per cent. Nevertheless, some bookmakers have reduced the odds of a National Front victory to 3/1.
Fillon had been favourite to win the presidency until allegations emerged three weeks ago that his wife did very little work for the hundreds of thousands of euros in taxpayers' money that she received as his aide.
Francois Fillon had been favourite to win the presidency until allegations in a newspaper three weeks ago that his wife did very little work for the hundreds of thousands of euros in taxpayers' money that she received as his aide
Fillon has faced a huge backlash from voters, and is now expected to be eliminated in the first round of votes
Speaking to The Telegraph, Le Pen said her government would carve out a new bilateral relationship with post-Brexit Britain.
The 48-year-old said: 'What is the point in punishing a country? It is senseless, unless you think the EU is a prison, and you are condemned if you escape.
'I want to rebuild our damaged relations with the United Kingdom.
'A people decides its own destiny. You cannot force a country to do something that is against its own interest, or against the democratic process.'
She told the newspaper that Brexit was a 'powerful weapon' for her campaign.
A poll by Itop Fiducial yesterday predicted that Emmanuel Macron (right) would emerge victorious in the presidential race
And Le Pen warned that her desire to leave the euro would send shockwaves across member states.
The candidate said: 'France is the political heart of Europe, and the moment we leave the euro the whole project collapses.'
After Britain's vote to leave the EU last year, Le Pen had been expected to push for a French exit vote, but this year she has struck a more conciliatory tone, saying she favours reform.
She said after last year's Brexit vote that Britain had 'broken a taboo'.
She said in a radio interview with RMC last month: 'I think we need to renegotiate with the EU to bring back sovereignty to France, backed by a referendum.'
A poll has previously found that just 33 per cent of French voters would back Frexit.
Addressing a crowd in Lyon last week, she said: ‘The European Union has placed us under guardianship, we will have to find a compromise with Europe to regain sovereignty.'
But she said that if no compromise is reached, she will organise a Frexit referendum to 'resign from this nightmare and become free again'.
Le Pen also wants to leave Nato, and devote two per cent of gross domestic product to building up the French army.
Attacking globalisation, she said her 'made in France' economic policies would be based on jobs for French workers and a clampdown on foreign firms creating 'unfair competition'.
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