Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right Front National Party, has offered a new solution to Belgium's political deadlock - by suggesting the country's French-speaking region could become a new region of France.

Belgians have been without a government for more than 400 days because the Dutch-speaking north and francophone south (also known as Wallonia) have been unable to agree on how the country should be run since an election held last year.

In a relaxation of her party's tough stance against immigrants, Le Pen released a statement on Belgium's national day July 21, in which she said: "If Belgium is going to split, if Flanders pronounces its independence, which seems more and more credible a possibility, the French republic would do well to welcome Wallonia to its heart".

Le Pen has been criticised for contradicting King Albert II who urged Belgians to unite.

- Independent