French conservative vote unclear

The result of a tightly fought two-way contest to choose the next leader of France’s conservatives remained unclear yesterday, with both sides claiming they had won. Jean-Francois Cope, a disciple of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, announced his victory to reporters around 10.30pm, then former prime minister Francois Fillon said 20 minutes later he was in the lead. Cope claimed to be 1,000 votes ahead, while Fillon said he led by 200.