A left-wing candidate for the French presidential elections has said all schools in his country should serve vegetarian meals amid an ongoing religious debate.

Jean-Luc Melenchon said on Sunday that every state school should offer Muslim and Jewish children a pork-free option at lunch.

The Socialist, who was being interviewed by a panel of youngsters aged eight to 12, said the measure would "shut down" the debate in France.

He said: "If there's no meat, there's no meat. You really don't need to eat meat every day."

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