The British National Party’s South East of England press officer, Tim Rait, represented the party at last weekend’s major rally by supporters of Bruno Gollnisch of France’s Front National, reports our French correspondent.
Mr Rait spoke on behalf of the British National Party’s chairman, who had been invited but was unable to attend because of prior commitments.
The rally was held at the estate of Villepreux in the countryside near Versailles, about 25 miles from Paris.
The event, which was called La Grande Fete Patriotique, was held at a superb and beautiful historic property which provided a large hall suitable for a grand assembly of supporters of M Gollnisch ahead of the forthcoming voting within the Front National for the presidency and leadership of the party.
This has become necessary as that party’s workhorse leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, 82, prepares to retire. M Le Pen founded the FN and has been its leader since 1972.
Mr Rait, who spoke in perfect French, delivered a message of support for M Gollnisch, who is a Member of the European Parliament and is currently the deputy leader of the Front National.
Also speaking at the event were MEPs from Austria and Hungary, and representatives from political parties in Italy and Portugal, all of whom expressed their support.
“M Gollnisch explained his intentions for the party in an entirely positive manner and refrained from any actual criticism of Ms Marine Le Pen, who is the other candidate in the forthcoming leadership contest,” Mr Rait said.
“The event was attended by about 1,500 people during the afternoon, to whom I presented my speech. This was then followed by a dinner for over 500 guests in the evening.
“A press conference also took place with the national press there, at which M Gollnisch spoke of his future plans and policies for the party.”
Afterwards, Mr Rait was interviewed by a journalist from one of the French national papers and was invited to explain his reasons for supporting M Gollnisch.
“We have known Bruno for several years,” Mr Rait told the newspaper.
“He has a strong record of working for the patriotic cause, is extremely competent and highly qualified, in both law and languages, and works well in the European parliament with us and other patriots from various countries.”