French presidential candidate will not withdraw over wife's pay scandal

French presidential candidate will not withdraw over wife's pay scandal

French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon has said he will not withdraw from the race amid a row over his Welsh-born wife Penelope's well-paid job as his assistant.

Mr Fillon (pictured) told a news conference that he did not act illegally and he will publish his assets on the internet later.

However, he apologised to the French people for employing his wife, saying that giving work to your family is a practice that is now rejected.

He said: "It was a mistake."

Mr Fillon's popularity has dropped in the past two weeks following revelations by the Canard Enchaine newspaper alleging that his wife was paid 830,000 euro (£717,000) over 15 years.

The conservative candidate said he is "honest", and described the controversy as being like "a clap of thunder".

He said: "I would like to say to the French (primary voters) that their choice cannot be taken away from them.

"They will not be silenced."

Mr Fillon acknowledged that his proposed programme of government, which includes slashing 500,000 public sector jobs, "upsets people".

But he said that "it is the only one that can give confidence back to the French".

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