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Non! Fillon refuses to drop out of election despite call to court

FRENCH conservative candidate Francois Fillon yesterday refused to quit the presidential race despite receiving a summons to face charges of faking parliamentary jobs for his family, including his British wife.

Mr Fillon called the probe a ‘political assassination’ and urged supporters to ‘resist’, adding that he would leave his fate to voters. ‘France is greater than my errors,’ he said.

The former frontrunner’s chances in the two-round election beginning in April have slipped since the investigation started in January.

Republican Mr Fillon, who denies all allegations, cancelled a campaign event yesterday but said he would not ‘surrender’.

The court summons was expected after the financial prosecutor’s office opened a formal judicial inquiry that allows judges to file preliminary charges, which could include abuse and misappropriation of public funds.

The allegations shocked voters because of Mr Fillon’s clean-cut image and pledged spending cuts.

One magazine reported that payments totalling £850,000 were made to wife Penelope and two of their five children over many years.