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Jean-Marie Le Pen calls for party 'unity' as Front National summer conference kicks off

Jean-Marie Le Pen has announced his intention of turning up at the FN's summer school in Marseille
Jean-Marie Le Pen has announced his intention of turning up at the FN's summer school in Marseille Reuters/Christian Hartmann

Jean-Marie Le Pen has called for "unity" within the Front National ahead of the party’s summer conference, which debuts in Marseille on Saturday and to which he was not invited.

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Speaking at a press conference in the northern districts of Marseille, Le Pen, the 87-year-old patriarch of the Front National who was expelled from the party last month, also had a message for his daughter Marine, the party president.

"I want her to find the right way. I think we should stop this witch hunt, and we must march towards unity," he told dozens of journalists before a meal with his supporters.

"Unity is essential for victory. I want to stop such divisions from becoming battles."

The dysfunctional family row between father and daughter came to a head when Marine Le Pen moved to have her father expelled from the party in order to clean up the party’s image. The elder Le Pen faces charges of denying crimes against humanity for saying the gas chambers of the Holocaust were "a detail of World War II."

Jean-Marie Le Pen has announced his intention of turning up at the FN's summer school in Marseille over the weekend.

The new party leadership is unlikely to give him a hearty welcome.

Marine Le Pen told radio station RTL that the presence of her father at the conference was "not desirable, as it would create a media buzz".

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