French presidential candidate Fillon urges supporters to fight on

He's facing allegations over claims he paid his wife for work she never did

French presidential candidate Fillon urges supporters to fight on

French presidential candidate Frances Fillon | Image : PA images

Francois Fillon has given a defiant speech to supporters telling them "not to give up" the fight for the French presidency.

At a rally near the Eiffel Tower the Republican candidate refused to say whether or not he will quit the presidential race.

Mr Fillon is facing corruption allegations over claims he paid his wife for work she never did.

Speaking for nearly 30 minutes, he said "Even if this charge against me is unjust... I owe you an apology.

He added that "I made the first mistake, asking my wife to work for me. I should not have done it.

"I made a second mistake by hesitating on how to tell you about it."

Fillon finished by telling the crowd "Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here, you who have braved bad weather conditions, orders, caricatures, sometimes even insults by coming here on this square with such strong symbols."

Fake jobs scandal

Earlier today, Mr Fillon's wife Penelope broke her silence over the "fake jobs" scandal, saying that she had carried out a "lot of different tasks" for her husband.

The Republicans candidate was the frontrunner until mid-January when the Canard Enchaine newspaper claimed he had paid his wife and two of their children nearly €900,000 as parliamentary assistants or advisers.

Opinion polls currently show that far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron would go through to the second round of the presidential contest on the 7th of May, with Mr Fillon eliminated in the first round.