A French government minister who was accused of sexual assault resigned on Sunday, the prime minister's office announced.

Junior civil service minister George Tron became the subject of a preliminary investigation into charges of rape and sexual assault after two women alleged that he had attacked them between 2007 and 2010.

One of the women said she was inspired to come forward after a chambermaid at a luxury Manhattan hotel claimed she was sexually assaulted by International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has been charged with attempted rape and has resigned.

Tron, 53, is a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative UMP party. Strauss-Kahn had been a leading presidential hopeful in next year's elections for the rival Socialist Party.

A statement from Prime Minister Francois Fillon's office noted Tron has denied the allegations and praised him for acting in the "general interest."

The two women, aged 34 and 36, once worked at the town hall of Draveil, south of Paris, where Tron has long been mayor.

The women told newspaper Le Parisien that Tron assaulted them behind locked doors at the town hall.

One said she was too ashamed to tell anyone at first, but that she spoke out after the charges were brought in New York against Strauss-Kahn.

"When I saw that a chambermaid was capable of taking on Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I told myself I didn't have the right to keep quiet," said the woman, who was not identified by name.

"Other women may be suffering what I suffered. I have to help them. We have to break this code of silence."