French president Emmanuel Macron has been forced to deny claims his fired bodyguard was his lover. Alexandre Benalla, 26, was sacked after footage emerged of him wearing a police helmet and beating up protesters.
Critics slammed Macron for waiting two months before dismissing Benalla, claiming he was still living in his official residence even after being suspended.
Some websites have even suggested there was more to the pair’s relationship.
But speaking to MPs in Paris, Mr Macron, 40, said: “The person responsible for all this is in front of you. Alexandre Benalla never had any nuclear codes.“He never had an apartment. Alexandre Benalla was never my lover.”
Mr Macron, married to Brigitte, 65, since 2007, has seen his popularity nosedive since the scandal erupted.
He called Benalla’s actions a “disappointment and a betrayal” but added: “We have a press that no longer seeks the truth.
“The media says, ‘Look, looped images of a scene’, which is unacceptable and which I condemn.
“But I would like to see the scene before, the scene after, the context, what happened.
“Are the images shown with the desire to seek the truth and to present the facts in a balanced manner?”
Benalla on Thursday said he had “made a mistake” but said it was being exploited by Mr Macron’s enemies.