Marine Le Pen 'threatening Macron in elections' says expert

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National Rally (NR) leader Ms Le Pen, who lost to Emmanuel Macron in the 2017 election, is gearing up for her third presidential bid next spring. In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, the right-wing leader has talked at length about her vision for France if she wins the race to the Elysee Palace. In a sign that post-Brexit relations between Britain and France could improve under her leadership, Ms Le Pen even backed an original idea floated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2017.

While he was serving as Foreign Secretary under Theresa May, Mr Johnson suggested building a 22-mile road crossing between the UK and France.

The now Prime Minister believed the bridge would have boosted Britain’s tourism industry.

He wrote on Twitter: “Our economic success depends on good infrastructure and good connections.

“Should the Channel Tunnel be just a first step?”

Ms Le Pen has now said about the proposal: “Boris Johnson is a very creative and always surprising person.

“A bridge over the English Channel… why not?

“Anything that can link our countries deserves to be considered.”

With Ms Le Pen on board, the bridge could indeed see the light of day.

Eurotunnel bosses requested a meeting with British officials about a second crossing between the UK and Europe in 2017.

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In a letter to former Prime Minister Theresa May, the French Chief Executive of Eurotunnel said he was “very interested” in a second fixed link and would have been “delighted” to start discussions.

The note from Eurotunnel Chief Executive Jacques Gounon read: “The idea of a second fixed link is something that we regularly consider in our long term plans and we would be delighted to engage with your officials to explore the possibility further.”

A source at the company told The Telegraph demand was rising and a second connection would have been required.

They also confirmed the letter had been sent right after Mr Johnson’s remarks about building a bridge.

The company said it was “fully engaged” to “deliver the best possible solutions for industry and consumers in the post-Brexit relationship”, adding that “exploratory work could be worthwhile now”.

The letter added: “The acknowledgement of such potential is a strong indicator of confidence in the future of the economy.”

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Winston Churchill’s grandson, Tory backbencher Nicholas Soames, also backed Mr Johnson’s proposal at the time, and said: “It’s an absolutely excellent idea.”

Bridge designer Ian Firth, a past president of the Institution of Structural Engineers, said a bridge over the Channel – possibly with a stretch of tunnel in the middle to avoid having an impact on one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world – was not as far-fetched as it may have seemed.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is entirely feasible. Before the Tunnel was built there were bridge options being looked at.

“There are bridges of a similar – if not quite the same – scale elsewhere. Of course this would not be one big span – the economics may lean towards something like 800m-1km spans.

“It would be a huge undertaking, but it would be absolutely possible, and shipping impact issues could be dealt with.”

Despite the enthusiasm, Mrs May’s official spokesman repeatedly declined to offer support for the idea.

France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, also appeared to be lukewarm about the concept of a bridge.

He told Europe 1 radio: “All ideas merit consideration, even the most far-fetched ones.

“We have major European infrastructure projects that are complicated to finance. Let’s finish things that are already underway before thinking of new ones.”


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