A row over perks has forced a former minister in Nicolas Sarkozy’s French government to give up the money she was paid as head of a task force.
Christine Boutin has been earning 9,500 euros a month for the post while also receiving a pension and being paid for another job.
The President asked her to study the “social effects of globalisation” after she lost her cabinet post in a reshuffle a year ago. But media reports of her payment for the job have caused an outcry.
“I have heard French people with low wages who can’t understand how a political figure can have a total salary of nearly 18,000 euros,” the former Housing Minister told French TV.
“So I have decided to carry out this mission for nothing, by renouncing my 9,500 euros.”
Having initially defended Boutin’s bumper payslip for the project, the government then pressed her to forgo it. But she will continue to pick up her parliamentary pension of 6,000 euros a month and monthly income of 2,000 euros from a regional authority.
Opposed to abortion and gay marriage, Boutin has not been afraid to criticise government policy. She firmly denies any suggestion that Sarkozy may have tried to buy her silence with the well-paid job.