Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has dropped a controversial pledge to scrap same-sex marriage.

The leader of France’s centre-right UMP was a strong opponent of LGBT equality while serving as President from 2007 until 2012.

After left-wing successor Francois Hollande introduced equal marriage in 2013, Mr Sarkozy led a backlash against it – planning to run for President again and repeal the law.

However, the leader has quietly backed down from his stance on the issue this week – as thousands of same-sex couples have already tied the knot.

In extracts from his new book ‘La France pour la vie’ published today in Le Figaro, Sarkozy attempts to walk back his stance on the issue and embrace the status quo.

He said “there will be no question of unmarrying people or going backwards”, citing his “evolution” on the issue.

He said: “On reflection, I fear that, given the state of tension and division in French society which led to election method of François Hollande, the remedy would be worse than the problem.

“I would not look to legislate again, because the priority should be to unite Freance. This is a point on which I have evolved.”

Competition from the left, however, is not Mr Sarkozy’s main obstacle.

The far-right National Front (Front Nationale) have surged in support, eating away at his mainstream conservative voter base.

The FN strongly opposed same-sex marriage.