Thibault de Montbrial, “the cops’ lawyer” campaigning in the Yvelines

“One: the state must not piss people off. Two: the state must first ensure their safety. Three: we must protect the most fragile. That, in a nutshell, is my political vision., loose Thibault de Montbrial. This figure of the Paris bar, specializing in the defense of the police and the military, is presenting himself for the first time in the legislative elections this Sunday, under the colors of the Republicans but without having the card.

The former paratrooper in the army, who lives in the west of Paris, landed a month ago in the sixth district of Yvelines. That, rather bourgeois, of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where the team of outgoing MP Natalia Pouzyreff (LREM), mocks a parachute drop. No effect on Thibault de Montbrial. In the car between two trips, the lawyer retorts – using military jargon – that he has the merit of going ” in touch with “ voters, convinced that his candidacy “restores pride in right-wing people “.

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Thanks to his many hats, Thibault de Montbrial has carved out a solid reputation in the corridors of power and on television sets. His career as a lawyer led him to represent Nafissatou Diallo in France, the family of Colonel Beltrame or personalities threatened by terrorism such as Zineb El Rhazoui. Then, he made a name for himself by founding think tanks, like his father, the Atlanticist geopolitical scientist Thierry de Montbrial, founder of the IFRI (French Institute for International Relations).

Threatened by Islamists

Everything about him starts from one observation: with the attacks, France would have emerged from 70 years of peace. The increase in violence within society would therefore require a radical reaction. At the head of the Center for Reflection on Internal Security (CRSI), he denounces the “denial” of certain political leaders in the face of the rise of Islamism and delinquency.

His denunciation of Islamism put him in danger. Targeted by a bogus parcel bomb when his latest book was released, Thibault de Montbrial is faced with a “big international threat », taken seriously by the authorities. Since then, he has been living and campaigning under the protection of SDLP (Protection Service) police officers.

Carrying a weapon out of order

On television and behind the scenes, the reserve lieutenant-colonel in the gendarmerie campaigned in particular to authorize the police to carry their weapons out of service. A measure finally put in place. “I have just pleaded for one of my police clients, who was the victim of the Bataclan attack while he was off duty. He had an angle of fire on the terrorists that evening, if he had carried a weapon, the killing could undoubtedly have stopped more quickly”, he regrets. However, “ I never claimed that the right to carry a weapon should be extended to people who do not have the skills “, specifies this sports shooter, who judges himself “ pretty well trained for a civilian “.

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Advisor in the shadow of certain deputies of the right wing of the LREM and the LR, the lawyer accompanied the recent enlargement of the prerogatives of the security services. Thibault de Montbrial participated in the drafting of the law which relaxed the rules for the opening of fire by the police in 2017. He also pushed for an extension of the cases of self-defense, advocating in particular a “permanent presumption” for individuals in residential areas, and the adaptation of the concept “excusable state of seizure” present in Swiss law. Éric Zemmour defended a similar idea during the presidential campaign.

Thibault de Montbrial is also in favor of the establishment of a statute, which prevents police officers who have used their weapon from being quickly indicted pending the results of the investigation. A proposal close to the “presumption of self-defence” for the forces of order supported by the very right-wing police union Alliance and put forward by Valérie Pécresse, Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour during the presidential campaign.

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Divisive proposals, including within the police. “The presumption of self-defence is a counter-productive measure, including for the interests of the police. By introducing too much flexibility, this law could put them at risk”believes Denis Jacob, former Alliance and president of Alternative Police, affiliated with the CFDT. “These relaxations would lead to an increase in the amount of violence used by the police and would reinforce the model of confrontation which has gradually been established, to the detriment of the limitation of the use of weapons. This is necessarily going to translate into more citizens being killed,” judge the CNRS researcher Sebastian Roché.

“Determined but constructive opponent”

Adviser to Valérie Pécresse on security issues during the presidential campaign, Thibault de Montbrial was persuaded to run for deputy. “My three children are grown. I leave a job where I earn a very good living to put everything back into play and earn four times less money »a point on which he insists: “I will not be forced into compromises”, he said.

“I will be a determined but constructive opponent. For example, I would have voted for the law against separatism even if I think we have to go further. I had helped a lot in the background by proposing amendments which were mostly rejected”he says.

Recomposition of the right

Not discouraged by the Bérézina suffered by his candidate – 4.8% in the first round – Montbrial believes in his chances, convinced of being in the right place at LR to push his ideas to power. “The right is in tatters, it’s time to rebuild it. Especially since Emmanuel Macron will not be able to represent himself in 2027, there will necessarily be a recomposition. Autumn will be decisive. Christian Jacob announced that he would leave the hand at the head of the party, there will surely be an initiative at that time”anticipates this close friend of David Lisnard, the rising value at LR, who could run for the next presidency of LR.

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The mayor of Cannes and president of the influential Association of French Mayors (AMF), “praise the spirit of service” of the lawyer, who embodies his line of “reasonable radicalism”, which would bring the right out of its political marginalization in which it is locked. But the step is high to enter the Palais Bourbon. In 2017, Natalia Pouzyreff, her main competitor, won hands down (58%) against LR Pierre Morange.

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