France 'sexual harassment' politician Denis Baupin quits

French left-wing MP and vice president of the National Assembly Denis Baupin - April 2015 Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Denis Baupin denies the allegations against him

The deputy speaker of parliament in France has quit after allegations of sexual harassment were made against him by colleagues.

Denis Baupin groped one female Green Party member and sent explicit messages to others, the women said in interviews in French media.

His lawyer told Agence France-Presse Mr Baupin had resigned from his role.

He added Mr Baupin denied the allegations and may sue the women for defamation.

Earlier on Monday, the president of the National Assembly, Claude Bartolone, had asked for Mr Baupin to resign.

The allegations were made by four women to the French news organisations France Inter and Mediapart on Monday.

France Inter said the women chose to come forward after Mr Baupin gave his support in March to a high-profile campaign criticising violence against women.

One of his accusers, Green Party spokeswoman Sandrine Rousseau, said Mr Baupin groped her breast in a corridor and tried to kiss her.

When she told two colleagues, one said: "Oh, he's started up again", Ms Rousseau said.

Three other Green Party members claimed they had received a number of explicit messages, or been the subject of lewd behaviour, from Mr Baupin.

The 53-year-old was a member of the Green Party, which is deeply divided, until last month. His accusers said they were previously afraid for their careers, and did not speak out.

Some of the allegations date back 15 years.

Mr Baupin is married to Emmanuelle Cosse, the housing minister in Francois Hollande's Socialist government.

In a statement released on Monday afternoon, Mr Baupin's lawyer said he "completely denies the claim of sexual harassment and of sexual violence, both of which are alien concepts to him".

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