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Le Pen's right-hand man Florian Philippot quits France's National Front

21 September 2017

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front, said the party would rebuild after her number two quit on Thursday and said she would continue to campaign against the European Union and for "national sovereignty".

But amid the fallout from the party's poorer-than-predicted showing at recent elections, on Wednesday Ms Le Pen stripped him of his key brief for strategy and communication. "I don't like ridicule, and I have never liked doing nothing, so of course I am leaving the National Front".

His stock in the party was also damaged by his hardline stance against the euro currency, a position which many in the National Front blame for Le Pen's loss to Macron and for the party's third-place finish in June's parliamentary elections.

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Le Pen said on Thursday the party would rebuild and said she would continue to campaign against the EU.

"They told me that I was [now] deputy chairman of nothing", he said. He said the party is going backwards in a "terrifying" way.

Le Pen floundered badly in the final presidential debate on the issue and ended up trailing Macron in the election run-off, garnering just 33.9 percent of the vote.

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Philippot, who up until recently had been one of Le Pen's longstanding and closest allies, told France 2 radio on Thursday morning that he was quitting the party.

Following that defeat Philippot set up his own movement called "The Patriots" which at the time he said was to help spread Le Pen's message.

Seeing his influence in the party wane, Philippot began to chart his own path, creating his own Patriots association in May.

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Another Le Pen advisor, economist Philippe Murer, also announced his resignation Thursday, saying that he too disagreed with the new direction being proposed by Le Pen.

Le Pen's right-hand man Florian Philippot quits France's National Front