French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon under pressure over anti-Semitic tweet

Francois Fillon is on the defensive again after his party tweeted a caricature with anti-Semitic overtones and a newspaper claimed a mystery benefactor bought him £42,000 of luxury suits. The French presidential candidate’s party, Les Republicains, has said it is launching an investigation after a tweet showed rival Emmanuel Macron with a suit, top hat and hooked nose. The tweet first went out on Friday, with the party later posting a revised version showing a photo of Mr Macron instead. Mr Fillon called it “unacceptable” and said he could not “tolerate the party spreading caricatures that use the codes of anti-Semitic propaganda”.

I see that my private life is being put under all sorts of scrutiny, and this treatment is reserved for me.

Francois Fillon

Mr Macron also labelled the cartoon - which shows his links to key supporters - “anti-Semitic imagery”. The centrist En Marche! candidate is not Jewish. He used to be employed by the Rothschild investment bank. Mr Fillon, once the clear favourite to be France’s next president, has been embroiled in a scandal over payments to his wife. He denies she was paid hundreds of thousands of euros for a “fake” parliamentary job and has vowed to fight on despite dwindling public support. An awkward weekend for Mr Fillon was compounded by newspaper claims he was bought tens of thousands of euros of luxury suits. Journal du Dimanche reported a mystery benefactor had paid for nearly €48,500 (£42,000) of clothing from the high-class tailor Arnys since 2012. It claimed €35,500 was paid in cash, most often delivered by a young woman.