One of the ten Members of the European Parliament who represent Brighton and Hove has joined forces with the French National Front.
Janice Atkinson, an MEP for the South East England consitituency, has become vice president of a political group in the European Parliament known as the Europe of Nations and Freedom.
The group’s membership includes the Front National which is led by Marine Le Pen, daughter of former leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.
Mrs Atkinson was elected as an MEP for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) after defecting from the Conservatives.
But UKIP expelled her, saying that she had brought the party into disrepute by trying to inflate an expenses claim although Mrs Atkinson denied doing anything wrong.
UKIP has previously ruled out working with the Front National because of its prejudice and anti-semitism.
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England and a former member of Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “Janice Atkinson’s membership of the new far-right racist group in the European Parliament was key to its creation.
“According to EU rules, any new grouping must consist of MEPs from seven different countries and Ms Atkinson, the sole representative from the UK, makes up the seventh country they need.
“This means that the new group will get EU funds for its operation.
“This new group is a platform for some of Europe’s worst racists, fascists and homophobes which goes against fundamental human rights as well as the beliefs of the majority of Britons and EU citizens.
“I am sure that south east constituents would not want Janice Atkinson propping up these hate groups in their name and I am appalled that she would treat her constituents – those who voted her into office – with such little respect.”
The Guardian reported the Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder, who also represents South East England, as saying that Atkinson had made a “disgraceful decision”.
She said: “The people of the south east region she represents will undoubtedly be shocked by this move.
“Janice Atkinson should do the honourable thing and resign, not prop up a group of Europe’s most hateful and far-right parties.”
The new political group will be eligible for public funding worth more than £10 million over the remaining four years of the parliament.