France’s Front National party (FN) has suspended founder Jean-Marie Le Pen over inflammatory remarks amid an ongoing feud with his daughter, current party leader Marine Le Pen.
Mr. Le Pen refused to attend a party disciplinary hearing on Monday after recently minimising the Holocaust.
“I speak freely and this shocks some people,” he told reporters.
When asked by a journalist if he would “continue speaking freely,” he replied, “of course.” adding that he has never spoken in the name of the FN, “I only need to speak in the name of Jean-Marie Le Pen. It’s a reference for a certain number of people,” he said.
Many party colleagues have distanced themselves from Mr. Le Pen
“You know Jean-Marie Le Pen is a theatrical monstrosity, you have seen putting on his costume of toreador,” said Gilber Collard, Secretary General of Rassemblement Bleu Marine. “It is in any case, rather mind blowing. He is a man who doesn’t back down and he passed this trait of character on to Marine.”
His daughter, party leader Marine Le Pen, has been working to banish the face of the FN’s far-right past but he made a defiant appearance at the party’s annual May Day rally in Paris.
The party said on Monday in a statement that it will call a meeting in three months to strip Mr. Le Pen of his title of honourary chairman.
His suspension will continue at least until then.