One day after French presidential candidate Francois Fillon revealed that a judges are to place him a under formal criminal investigation later this month over allegations that he illegally employed his British wife and children at taxpayers’ expense, detectives raided his home in the capital’s elegant 7th arrondissement. At the same time, former French PM Alain Juppe was reportedly poised to replace Fillon as a result of the sprawling investigation. As the Telegraph reports, sources close to Mr Juppé, who had previously ruled out being a “plan B”, told Libération newspaper he had reconsidered because of the deepening crisis in the Républicains party provoked by Mr Fillon’s refusal to stand aside despite haemorrhaging support.
Even without today's raid, it appeared almost certain that Fillon's presidential bid was close to collapse after more than 20 centre-Right MPs and councillors publicly withdrew support for him and key members of his campaign team quit. About 20 mayors also urged him to stand aside in favour of another candidate better placed to regain the Elysée Palace. Allies of Mr Juppé, who came second to Mr Fillon in the Republicain primaries, said he was “ready but loyal” and would only step in if asked to do so by the beleaguered candidate.