A leading left-wing French politician has resigned from a parliamentary mission to New Caledonia in protest at it being led by a former prime minister Manuel Valls.
Jean-Luc Melenchon hit out at Mr Valls, describing him as an extremely divisive person who is close to the ethnicist theories of the extreme right.
He says on the eve of New Caledonia's independence referendum, Mr Valls is a most inappropriate choice, adding that he has in a very recent past been repudiated in every which way.
After failing to win the presidential nomination of the Socialist Party, Mr Valls quit the party and made himself available for President Emmanuel Macron's movement, securing an Assembly seat.
Mr Melenchon says a deal of unknown origin has determined to give Mr Valls the leadership of the mission.
The Assembly president Francois de Rugy says the mission was set up in accordance with parliamentary rules ensuring that no political force was excluded.
Earlier this week Mr Valls said he wanted things in New Caledonia to evolve in a way so that everybody could find their place in the life of the French nation.
No date has been set for the mission's visit to New Caledonia.