Presidential election Le Pen victory would be 'body blow' to Europe: ex-British PM

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Marine Le Pen will represent France's far-right National Front (FN) in next year's presidential elections play

Marine Le Pen will represent France's far-right National Front (FN) in next year's presidential elections

(AFP/File)

Britain's former premier said Saturday the election of France's Marine Le Pen would be a "big body blow" for Europe, saying he hoped for the victory of a mainstream party.

David Cameron said the recent rise of "anti-system, populist" and "quite extreme political parties" in western Europe did not mark the end of globalisation, but warned of the immediate need to make a "major course correction" to address related economic and cultural challenges.

"If France were to elect Marine Le Pen, that would be obviously a very big body blow for the European project," he said at a Hindustan Times organised conference in New Delhi, hoping for a victory of "a mainstream party that can unite people behind their candidacy".

He said the demand for and benefit of free trade, travel, specialisation, technology, innovation were not going away.

"But we do need to understand very profoundly the things that have happened, that have caused the events you have seen in Europe and the wider world in the last one year," he added.

Cameron resigned as prime minister in June after he -- a supporter and campaigner for Britain to remain in the European Union -- lost a high-stakes national referendum on the very issue.

He defended the merits of having Britain stay in the bloc.

"I still believe it would have been better for Britain to remain inside the EU," he said in the Indian capital.

"Our neighbours, our partners, our friends and our allies and I wanted us to stay in the room with them when they make decisions that affect us and our continent," Cameron added.

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