Under-fire French minister to resign and lead parliamentary group: source

FILE PHOTO Newly appointed French Territorial cohesion Minister, Richard Ferrand, arrives to attend the first cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) – French minister Richard Ferrand, who has been fighting accusations of improper financial dealings during most of his few weeks in office, has agreed to resign from government, a source close to the presidency said on Monday.

Ferrand, who headed the campaign that swept Emmanuel Macron to power in a vote last May 7, is to leave the government to lead Macron’s lawmakers in parliament, the source added.

He was named minister for territorial planning in May, and is a former Socialist who became one of Macron’s key early backers.

He denied any wrongdoing after a public prosecutor opened an investigation.

(This version of the story was refiled to add dropped word from headline)

(Reporting by Michel Rose; writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Andrew Callus)