The British wife of French Presidential candidate #François Fillon has spoken out for the first time about the fake news scandal which threatens the future political career of her husband. Penelope Fillon has up to now remained silent following accusations that she and her children were paid large sums of government money employed as "assistants", yet there is no evidence of any work being completed.

Speaking to French newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche, she said she performed lots of tasks for her husband, stating, "He needed someone to do a lot of different tasks, and if it wasn’t for me, he would have paid someone to do it, so we decided it would be me.”

Fake jobs scandal

The accusations surfaced in January 2017 when the Carnard Enchaîné newspaper broke the "fake jobs" story.

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An investigation was launched soon after. Prior to the scandal centre-right candidate Filon was seen as a favourite to become the French President. Over the last few months, he has come under increasing pressure to resign which so far he has refused to do.

Crisis meeting for Fillon

Fillon's party Le Républicains has brought forward a "crisis meeting" by 24 hours and will meet on Monday night. In a statement, the party said, “Given the evolution of the political situation just seven weeks from the presidential election ... the political committee has been brought forward.” This meeting will no doubt determine the fate of Fillon who is exhibiting signs of feeling the pressure. At a campaign meeting on Saturday where he was to give an address to outline his programme he gave a speech citing famous figures from history such as Joan of Arc, Voltaire, and Victor Hugo, lambasting the

This meeting will no doubt determine the fate of Filon who is exhibiting signs of feeling the pressure.

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At a campaign meeting on Saturday where he was to give an address to outline his programme he gave a speech citing famous figures from history such as Joan of Arc, Voltaire, and Victor Hugo, lambasting the 35-hour working week describing it as a "French handicap."

The speech was warmly received by over 2500 supporters although security ejected anyone that called for him to resign.

Last ditch rally for Fillon?

On Sunday, Fillon will hold a major rally to try and galvanise support to be the Le Républicains presidential candidate. He has lost the support of over 200 MPs and political personalities and has been attacked in the media. To compound matters further for Fillon he has been summoned to appear before judges two days before French political parties are due to declare their candidates for the French presidency.

He has also backtracked on a pledge to resign should preliminary investigations in the scandal called for him to be mis en examen, which they did. Mis en examen is the nearest French law has for being arrested.

Penelope Fillon said she had told her husband to keep going.