There has been condemnation from across the political spectrum in France over the use of intelligence services to track the source of a leak to newspaper Le Monde.
The President’s office claims it did not order the inquiry but the paper’s chief executive Eric Fottorino is adamant the investigation should never have taken place.
“The issue”, he said, “is that the focus of a state service that is supposed to be fighting terrorism and protecting public safety has been diverted to benefit the interests of the political party in power.”
Government ministers say no instructions were given to investigate the source of the story which implicated Labour Minister Eric Woerth in a party funding scandal.
Xavier Bertrand, Secretary General of the ruling UMP party hit out at Le Monde saying, “It has no right to accuse us without proof. There is no evidence. The Elysee has denied it There was no request from us.”
The scandal looks set to continue. President Nicolas Sarkozy himself was under fire in the French parliament today with opposition MPs demanding explanations.
The Head of the French Socialist Party in Parliament, Jean-Marc Ayrault, called the matter a “national scandal”. He said the Presidency must explain itself. “There must be accountability,” he insisted.
The source of the leak is said to be a ministerial aid who has since been sent to work in French Guyana
Back home despite record low popularity ratings Nicolas Sarkozy seems unfazed by the latest scandal to rock his Presidency.