Andrew Neil pinpoints clear favourite to replace Boris – No more to say

Partygate: Met Police issue over 50 fixed penalty notices

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The former GB News presenter has taken to social media in the wake of the Prime Minister being issued a fine over a gathering in the Cabinet room on June 19, 2020 for his birthday.

The chairman of Spectator said on Twitter: “Liz Truss now clear favourite to replace Boris Johnson if the vacancy soon arises.

“I have no more to say.”

Paul Brand, ITV UK editor, then replied: “And really the only obvious candidate at this stage…”

Mr Neil added: “Indeed. I have no more to say. Today.”

He also remarked of Ms Truss’ photoshoots: “Perhaps you had not worked out the purposes of these entirely unplanned photoshoots.”

Mr Neil added: “A fixed penalty notice is embarrassing. It doesn’t make you a criminal. Unless you don’t pay it.”

Following news of fines being issued to him, Mr Johnson said Britons had the “right to expect better”.

He confirmed he had paid his partygate fine in full, and said from Chequers “it did not occur to me” a birthday gathering “might have been a breach” of the strict Covid rules at the time.

The Prime Minister said: “I understand the anger that many will feel that I myself fell short when it came to observing the very rules that the Government I lead had introduced to protect the public.

“I accept in all sincerity that people had the right to expect better.”

Mr Johnson, his wife Carrie, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak all fixed penalty notices over events held in Downing Street during lockdown.

Mr Sunak issued an “unreserved apology”, and added he understands “that for figures in public office the rules must be applied stringently in order to maintain public confidence”.

Following the fines, Ms Truss said on Twitter: “The Prime Minister has apologised and taken responsibility for what happened in Downing Street.

“He and the Chancellor are delivering for Britain on many fronts including on the international security crisis we face. They have my 100 percent backing.”

Sir Roger Gale, who submitted a letter of no confidence after the row over Dominic Cummings’s trip to Durham in the first lockdown, said a leadership contest would risk “a lame duck Prime Minister while the world is in crisis”.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: “We have a role to play internationally and we are playing it, because of people like, yes, Ben Wallace and the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary and others.

“We I think are playing a very significant role and I don’t want to see that role destabilised, I don’t want to see the European and the international coalition destabilised to the detriment of the people of Ukraine.”

Ahead of the local elections in May, Sir Roger admitted Partygate “certainly wasn’t going to help” matters but alluded to other significant issues like planning and the cost-of-living crisis that will decide matters at the ballot box.

Ms Truss is now the early favourite to become the next Tory leader.

According to the latest odds from Betfair, who have the Foreign Secretary at odds of 6/1 to take over.

The bookmaker also has Tom Tugendhat at 8/1, Jeremy Hunt at 9/1, Ben Wallace at 9/1 and Rishi Sunak down at 10/1.

Meanwhile, Nigel Farage slammed the Government as a “complete shower”, and said on Twitter: “So, the Prime Minister has been fined for breaches of lockdown holding parties in his home No 10 Downing Street.

“The Chancellor has also been fined and he is teetotal. That must really hurt him.”

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