'Let them call you racists,' Bannon tells far-right French party

'Let them call you racists,' Bannon tells far-right French party

"Let them call you racists", Bannon told the anti-immigrant party's audience on Saturday in France, as The Washington Post reported. The populist 5-Star Movement and the anti-immigration League both outdid traditional parties.

Steve Bannon, former Donald Trump strategist and architect of the U.S. president's nationalist, anti-immigrant campaign platform, will attend a Sunday congress of France's far-right National Front party.

Party members supported legalised euthanasia, which Le Pen opposes, favour of gay marriage and are against the death penalty, she said.

Bannon was booted from the White House a year ago amid tensions and stepped down as chairman of the Breitbart News Network in January after being dubbed "Sloppy Steve" by the President for providing information to the author of a controversial White House tell all.

She also defended her far-right party's stance against immigration and in defence of French culture and security.

She has long sought to "de-demonize" the party by moving away from its racist past, but Le Pen's own father complained that Bannon was the "most radical" of Trump's advisers, saying Saturday's invitation "is not exactly the definition of 'de-demonization'".

Steve Bannon gives a press conference during the French far-right Front National (FN) party annual congress, March 10, 2018 at the Grand Palais in Lille, France.

Bannon spoke only about the 28-year-old neice at the joint news conference with Marechal-Le Pen.

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Marechal-Le Pen, the darling of the FN old guard, withdrew from politics previous year but made a high-profile appearance last month at a conservative jamboree in the USA, fuelling speculation about a comeback.

A new name, a new leadership structure and new bylaws are being unveiled at the two-day congress with the hope of making the party relevant again.

Jean-Marie Le Pen said that in losing heavily to Macron his daughter had "not been equal to the challenge" - a sentiment echoed by many FN members.

The changes pave the way for a younger leadership circle to emerge, even if the party's ideological foundation remains unchanged: nationalist, identity-driven, anti-European Union, according to Jean-Yves Camus, an expert on the far-right. She bowed out of politics after her aunt's presidential defeat, but is expected to come back in a new role.

Since taking over the National Front's presidency in 2011, Le Pen has worked to erase the footprint of her father - who has convictions for racism and anti-Semitism - to broaden the party's appeal. "It has gone from a party first of protest in its youth, then an opposition party to a party of government", Le Pen said on French television.

"We're at a turning point. don't bury us", she said in an interview with France's Le Figaro newspaper published Friday.

Angela Charlton contributed in Paris.

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