PARIS: France’s justice minister Francois Bayrou, a key ally of President Emmanuel Macron, told Agence France-Presse on Wednesday he was quitting the government, as his party battles a funding scandal. The move means Macron loses a crucial centrist partner as he seeks to pull together a government to push forward his ambitious pro-business reform agenda. Bayrou’s small centrist MoDem party was in an alliance with Macron’s 14-month-old Republic on the Move (REM) movement, and Bayrou was one of three MoDem ministers in the cabinet. MoDem is facing allegations it used European parliamentary funds to pay assistants actually based in France. The other MoDem minister, former defense minister Sylvie Goulard, also announced her resignation on Tuesday. Bayrou was a key backer of Macron’s movement during the presidential campaign, and his support was crucial in winning centrist votes for the new president.