Emmanuel Macron’s pensions Tsar resigns over conflict of interest as French strikes reach Christmas crunch

President Emmanuel Macron of France has suffered a major blow in his tense strike standoff with unions over pension reform after its architect resigned over a conflict-of-interest scandal.

Jean-Paul Delevoye, Mr Macron’s high commissioner for pensions, had come under increasing pressure to step down for failing to disclose a high-paying private sector job while in government, which is illegal under the French constitution.

He also “forgot” to inform France’s political transparency body that he held unpaid positions on various boards, including one linked to insurance and national rail operator SNCF – both with vested interests in pension reform.

In all he had omitted his role in 13 bodies, including two paid posts.

In a statement, Mr Delevoye said his credibility had been undermined by “violent attacks” by unions and opposition leaders seeking to discredit a pensions overhaul he dubbed “essential for France.”

He confessed to having displayed “culpable irresponsibility” over the omissions and pledged to pay back the money, totalling more than €120,000 (£100,000) since September 2017.