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French First Lady Valerie Trierweiler sparks row by meeting opponents of new airport backed by prime ministerFrancois Hollande's girlfriend met the protestors in Angers, western FranceThe 47-year-old was handed a letter to give to her partnerSome have seen it as a direct snub of PM Jean-Marc AyraultMs Trierweiler has been a target of several verbal attacks by politicians and journalists since her partner became president
15:14 GMT, 10 December 2012
Approachable: Ms Trierweiler, 47, chatted with the protestors in Angers, western France, this weekend and was even asked to deliver a letter to her partner, President Francois Hollande
French First Lady Valerie Trierweiler is at the centre of a fresh political scandal after meeting opponents of a new airport – in defiance of the prime minister's support for the project.
Ms Trierweiler is accused of trying to undermine PM Jean-Marc Ayrault's authority by consorting with the protestors in Angers, western France, this weekend.
The new multi-billion pound airport in Nantes is due for completion in 2017 and has even been dubbed the 'Ayrault-port', a play on the prime minister's name, because of his fierce backing.
But socialist President Francois Hollande's 47-year-old partner was happy to chat to three opponents' representatives, who also asked her to deliver a letter of protest to her boyfriend, activist group Greenpeace said.
It is the latest in a catalogue of blunders by Ms Trierweiler, who was recently branded a 'meddler' and 'nothing more than the president's mistress' by one right-wing MP.
Opposition MP Xavier Bertrand has now described her meeting with airport opponents as 'very serious'.
He added: 'This was not an innocent gesture. What is she trying to do, further undermine the position of Jean-Marc Ayrault
'And if so, was it her idea or the president's'
Last week, outspoken French MP Bernard Debre issued another dramatic put-down of Ms Trierweiler after she gave her public support for gay marriages.
He wrote on his website: 'Madame Trierweiler, self-proclaimed First Lady, is nothing more than the President's mistress.
'What is she meddling in What right does she have to speak out
'When one is in her position, after the blunders she has already made, it would be much better it she shut up.'
Ayrault-port: Ms Trierweiler was accused of trying to undermine the authority of PM Jean-Marc Ayrault, pictured, who is fiercely backing the project
The 68-year-old MP for Paris also said her job as a journalist was 'incompatible' with her role as the President's partner.
He added: 'She might well want to get into politics, but she should stop being a journalist and define her position at the Elysee Palace.'
The First Lady has been the target of repeated media attacks since her boyfriend was elected president in May.
She was at the centre of accusations she tried to wreck the political career of Segolene Royal – the mother of Mr Hollande's four children – by tweeting her support for a candidate standing against her in the parliamentary elections.
Ms Royal lost the election and later said she had been 'stabbed in the back' by Mr Hollande's girlfriend.
The French leader's former partner of 28 years went on to accuse Mr Trierweiler of costing her a place in Mr Hollande's cabinet.
Environmentalists: Ms Trierweiler met with the protesters in Angers, western France, They have erected barricades, pictured, to block building work in Notre-Dames-des-Landes
Ms Trierweiler also faced humiliation last month when her boss at a French magazine said she would be sacked at the end of this year.
Unpopular: The First Lady has been the target of repeated media attacks since Mr Hollande, left, was elected president in May.
Glossy weekly Paris Match's owner Arnaud Lagardere described her as 'an unpinned grenade' who has caused him 'nothing but trouble' and said he would not be renewing her contract in January.
Mr Lagardere's comments were published in a biography of the millionaire media tycoon by journalist Jacqueline Remy.
Ms Remy said it was suggested to Mr Lagardere in June that having the French First Lady as an employee would surely help him get 'the ear of the president'.
But he is quoted as replying: 'Are you kidding Up until now, she's caused us nothing but problems.'
He went on: 'She's like an unpinned grenade.'
Paris Match would be 'letting her go' next year to avoid any 'conflict of interest', he added.
She is also demanding 70,000 in damages over a book that alleges she cheated on her husband with two lovers at once.
Ms Trierweiler was the shared mistress of left-wing President Francois Hollande and a right-wing minister while she was married, the biography called The Troublemaker claimed.
A separate book about Ms Trierweiler called Between Two Fires, by investigative journalist Anna Cabana, describes her 'a cocktail of jealousy, vengeance and political calculation'.
In a third book about her called The Favourite, journalist Laurent Greilsamer writes: 'As I see it, you have shown yourself to be not normal, snooty, infatuated, explosive, unpredictable. And visibly dangerous.'