Paris - Former National Assembly Foreign Affairs Commission chairperson Francois Loncle has laid the blame of losing the 2012 Olympic bid to London firmly at the feet of President Jacques Chirac.
London beat favourite Paris by just four votes in the race to host the 2012 summer Olympics following the earlier elimination of Moscow, New York and Madrid during a series of votes in Singapore on Wednesday.
"You can't take president Chirac out nowadays," the Socialist MP said. "The bad image he has in the world handicapped the Paris bid."
He claimed members of the Paris bid had been worried about Chirac going to Singapore for the International Olympic Committee vote, even if they would not admit it.
But other French political leaders and the media have accused the British of not playing by the rules in London's stunning 2012 Olympic triumph, without actually accusing them of cheating.
"I think they crossed the yellow line several times," Paris deputy mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Thursday.
"Cheating. That's probably too strong a word. We need to check it out. Cheating would involve cash, some way of buying IOC members. I'm not going to get into that because I don't know."
But she denied Paris was a poor loser.
Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe put his finger on London's winning tactics when he said: "I am not quite sure that we took part with the same tools and spirit.
"On Tuesday, as I was going back to my hotel room to go to bed, I saw people coming out from successive meetings with Tony Blair and Sebastian Coe.
"I had not understood that that was the way we should have proceeded."
He added: "I thought that we just needed to provide the best possible bid with the best possible Olympic spirit. And I think this is what most of the IOC members thought about Paris."
Sports' daily L'Equipe accused London of using tactics which stretched the rules while Le Parisien said the French were too fair-play.
"Bertrand Delanoe and the Paris team wanted to be irreproachable and they paid the price in the end," the daily said.
The paper also accused Madrid of turning its back on Paris when it went out in the third round of voting, as Paris had few friends in eastern Europe which now sided with Britain on international matters.