THE Minister for youth Jeannette Bougrab walked out of a UMP meeting last weekend after a party member used racist language during a debate.
Bougrab, the former president of the anti-prejudice rights watchdog La Halde, quit the meeting early after demanding an apology from the audience member.
She had been taking part in a debate on secularism during a meeting of the Franche-Comté branch of the UMP.
As the subject of new funding plans for the building and restoration of mosques and churches was raised, a man, later identified as a 70-year-old former doctor, shouted out that he had had enough of "money going just toward bougnoules" - a racist term for people of north African origin.
While a party member in the audience said the term was not directed at the minister, she responded saying she was descended from a family of Harkis (Muslim Algerians who fought for France during the Algerian war).
"All my family fought for France. I can't accept this language," she added, demanding an apology before walking out of the meeting and taking a train back to Paris.
UMP party branch secretary Michel Vienet told the Est Republican newspaper that the man had later apologised but only after the minister had already left.
While there was no question of expelling the man from the party, he said, the member had been asked to write to apologise to the minister.