French MP claims Presidential hopeful is puppet of ‘rich gay lobby’

A French MP has claimed that the favourite to become France’s next President is a secret puppet of the “rich gay lobby”.

Nicolas Dhuicq, a outspoken member of the National Assembly for the right-wing Republicans, made the claim about centre-ground candidate Emmanuel Macron, who has taken a surprise lead in the Presidential race.

Macron is the new favourite to face far-right leader Marine Le Pen in May’s run-off election, following a scandal that that savaged the campaign of Republicans right-winger Francois Fillon.

Speaking to Russian government-controlled news agency Sputnik, Dhuicq sought to play up fears that Macron is a puppet of the “gay lobby”.

He said: “Concerning his private life, it is becoming public as we speak… Macron is a guy who is called a chouchou, or a darling, of the French media, which is owned by only a few people, as we all know.

“Besides, one of the guys who backs him is famous businessman Pierre Berge, a business partner and long-time lover of Yves Saint Laurent, who is openly homosexual and advocates gay marriage. There is very wealthy gay lobby behind him. This says it all.”

The Russian-controlled outlet then attempts a smear, claiming: “In November 2016, Macron publicly denied a persistent rumour that he’s secretly gay and living a ‘double life’.”

Speaking previously Mr Macron, a supporter for LGBT rights, rubbished smears about his sexuality, adding: “I care more than anything about my family life and my marriage.”

Mr Macron married his wife Brigitte Trogneux in 2007.

The centrist candidate is the strongest supporter of LGBT rights among the top candidates.

Mr Fillon, who strongly opposed the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2013, has shrugged off calls to directly repeal same-sex unions if elected President – instead planning to pare back the rights of gay couples to adopt.

The candidate, who voted against an equal age of consent in 1982, says he wants to change the law to ensure “a child is always the fruit of a father and mother.”

Under Mr Fillon’s proposals, same-sex couples would be banned from fully adopting a child, under a new requirement that children must have both male and female parents.

Ms Le Pen’s party has previously maintained strong ties to the anti-LGBT lobby, and though she insists she has made “reforms”, many of her party’s most senior figures have expressed homophobic views.

A Russian bank with strong ties to the Kremlin made a controversial loan to Le Pen’s Front National in 2014, leading to accusations of government interference.