MP demands law banning accent discrimination

A day after far-left MP Jean-Luc Mélenchon mocked a journalist's Toulouse accent, an LREM MP proposes an anti-discrimination law

An MP has proposed a bill that would make it illegal in France to discriminate against anyone due to their accent.

La République En Marche's Laetitia Avia, who has tabled the bill against 'linguistic discrimination' on Thursday, October 18, argued that it was necessary because "a person's accent" can sometimes lead to "ridicule, humiliation and discrimination".

The bill was presented a day after under-fire far-left politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon mocked a journalist's Toulouse accent. "This discrimination (...) is now ignored in positive law and is not among the 24 criteria[for] discrimination listed in article 225-1 of the Criminal Code", write elected representatives who support the bill.

Ms Avia said that the term 'glottophobia' was first mentioned in 2016 by Professor Philippe Blanchet. She said: "The accent, whether Moselle, Ch'ti, southern, Parisian or suburban, whether it is particularly pronounced or whether it agrees on a few subtle intonations, is an intriguing part of the identity of many French people."

There are recent parallels with English politics. This week, Conservative MP Sir Paul Beresford twice asked the SNP's David Linden to repeat a question because he could not follow Mr Linden's Glasgow accent.

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