The leader of France’s National Front, Marine Le Pen, has disowned her father, Jean-Marie, after he gave interviews in which he minimised the Holocaust and defended Nazi collaborator Marshal Petain.
Ms Le Pen released a statement saying: “Jean-Marie Le Pen seems to be in a total spiral of a strategy somewhere between scorched earth and political suicide.”
“His status as honorary president does not give him the right to hijack the National Front with vulgar provocations seemingly designed to damage me, but which unfortunately hit the whole movement.”
She went on to say that she was convening a special meeting to discuss the “best ways to protect the political interests of the National Front”.
The statement marks a turning point for the National Front, a party that has long been connected to the antisemitism and neo-Nazi overtones of its co-founder, Mr Le Pen.
Since she took the helm in 2011, Ms Le Pen has sought to “detoxify” the party and dispel its image as a hub of right-wing extremism.
In an interview with BFM TV in Paris, Mr Le Pen defended his view that Hitler’s gas chambers were “a mere detail in the history of World War Two”.
He told the interviewer he stood by that view “because it’s the truth”.
In an interview with far-right weekly Rivarol this week, Mr Le Pen also defended Marshal Petain, the leader of France’s collaborationist Vichy regime, who was convicted of treason after the war. “I have never considered Petain a traitor”.