France deputy speaker quits over sexual harassment allegations

The deputy speaker of the French parliament has announced his resignation over allegations of sexual harassment made by fellow politicians.

Denis Baupin, the French lawmaker and former member of France’s Green Party, announced his decision in a statement published on his website on Monday after four female party officials and lawmakers claimed they had been subjected to sexual harassment by him.

The accusers claimed they had received a number of explicit messages, or had been the subject of lewd behavior from the lawmaker.

Rejecting the claims, Baupin’s lawyer said, “Following the accusations in the media, Mr Denis Baupin wants to underline … that these are defamatory and baseless lies,” adding that he had resigned to protect the reputation of parliament and to defend himself.

The lawyer said Baupin plans to sue the women for defamation.

“Sexual harassment and even more so sexual aggression are totally foreign” to Baupin, who is one of parliament’s six deputy speakers, the lawyer added.

Earlier on Monday, the president of the French National Assembly, Claude Bartolone, had summoned Baupin and asked him to resign.

The 53-year-old lawmaker recently left the pro-environment Greens Party over disagreements about party strategy.

The French law has a statute of limitations of three years in cases of sexual harassment or aggression, except when the alleged victim is a minor.

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