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French minister considered quitting over fellow minister’s sacking

media Cécile Duflot AFP / BERTRAND GUAY

The French housing minister, Cécile Duflot, has revealed she considered quitting François Hollande’s government in protest after former environment minister Delphine Batho was sacked for criticising the budget.

In July, Batho criticised the amount of money allocated to her department during a radio interview. Hours later, Hollande sacked her from her post for failing to show party unity.

Duflot, a Greens Party MP, told Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper she sent text messages to Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, pleading with them to not sack Batho.

"Don't do this," she reportedly texted.

When Batho was shown the door, “it was the only time where I really thought it was possible” to quit the government, Duflot told the newspaper.

Batho’s dismissal led to an outcry among the Greens, who signed a coalition agreement with Hollande’s Socialist Party before the 2012 presidential election. However, the Greens eventually decided to maintain the coalition.

Duflot revealed there had been growing tensions between the two parties.

Dossier: The Cahuzac affair

“There were times when I felt I was on a tightrope,” she said, adding that few of the Green’s ecological development ideas have been incorporated into government policy.

In May, facing record low approval ratings and an offshore tax scandal involving former budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac, Hollande warned that “nobody is protected in the government” and “nobody has immunity” from being sacked from their ministerial posts.

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