Marine Le Pen, the controversial leader of France's main far right party has been stripped of the immunity from prosecution she enjoyed as a member of the European Parliament (MEP). The way is now clear for French authorities to prepare criminal charges for inciting racism against Marine Le Pen over comments made in 2010 when she compared Muslims street prayers to WW2 Nazi occupation: "For those who want to talk a lot about World War Two, if it's about occupation, then we could also talk about it (Muslim prayers in the streets), because that is occupation of territory".
I find the move strange. Firstly, the french hasn't exactly shied away from confronting Islam. The burka is of course banned and Muslim street prayer was banned in 2011 largely as a result of far right protests. Is it not then hypocritical for french authorities to bring (yet more) charges of racism against Le Pen whose party secured 18% of the vote during the last presidential election? Islam of course is not a race.
Secondly, what is the grounds for removing her immunity from prosecution? Thirdly, why do MEPs have immunity from prosecution in the first place?
BBC News - French far right leader loses immunity, faces chargesHowever, this protection was removed by a European parliamentary committee in a secret vote this week.
BBC chief political correspondent Gary O'Donoghue says he has been told that the vote to remove her immunity was "overwhelming".
It will need to be ratified by the full parliament, but that's expected to be a formality, our correspondent says.