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Royal cover-up claims denied

Environment minister denies reports that she has banned female staff from wearing low-cut tops

FRANCE’S new environment minister Ségolène Royal has taken to Twitter to deny claims of a cover-up in her office.

Le Point reported that she has banned female staff at her ministry from wearing plunging necklines.

She tweeted: “I deny of course the ridiculous rumour concerning the prohibition of low necklines in the ministry.”

She added: “The only instruction given regards greater rigour in the use of public funds, as the French expect from us."

Le Point had also said that she has outlawed smoking in the ministry’s courtyard and gardens in her presence, claimed that an usher orders other staff to stand aside whenever she walks around the ministry, and reported that she insists on peace and quiet during meals.

Despite her tweeted denial, the report has caused a stir. Both health minister Marisol Touraine and women’s rights minister Najat Belkacem-Vallaud faced questions on the topic in the media this morning.

Ms Touraine told Europe 1 radio that she was “not bothered” by low-cut tops on female staff, and Ms Belkacem-Vallaud expressed surprise that any such rule should be enforced during an interview on BFM TV.

It’s not the first report of this type to surface about the environment minister, who has been dubbed France’s “Iron Lady”.

Last week, L’Express said Ms Royal had urging staff to greet her with a formal handshake instead of the “bise” cheek kiss.

Former Presidential candidate Ms Royal, who joined Francois Hollande’s government in the reshuffle earlier this month, is the former partner of the President and mother of his four children.

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