This is a ridiculous mess. Is there a prime minister who has ever wasted so much for so little use?
A succession of parties in No 10, probably with cheap warm white wine, most of which he didn’t attend.
Anthony Eden quit over the Suez Crisis. He had conspired with Israel and France to invade Egypt. Tony Blair’s reputation never recovered after he had deceived this country into a war in Iraq.
Future historians will be shocked. How could the leader of a great country squander the vast political capital he had built up — and put a smirk on Sir Keir Starmer’s previously troubled face — over something as trivial as a few parties?
You may say it wasn’t so much the parties as his slipperiness about them. That’s true. Let’s await senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report, which the PM said yesterday he expects next week.
But his contention that he believed it was a ‘work event’ rather than a party when he wandered into the Downing Street garden on May 20, 2020, seems incredible.
What could a leader of such a country do to waste the immense political capital that he has built over something so trivial like a few party leaders?
David Davis, an ex-minister, demanded that Boris Johnson resign at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday
Bury South MP Christian Wakeford sitting on the opposition benches during Prime Minister’s Questions
People who blame other architects for their downfall are often the ones responsible. The Prime Minister’s complaint on Tuesday that ‘nobody told me that what we were doing was, as you say, against the rules’ was particularly hard to swallow. He had to follow them!
Like millions of people, I’m angry with Boris Johnson. He is a complete fool. Even though we knew that he was averse to being impeded by any type of interference, I still can’t credit his actions.
But if I am cross with Boris, I’m even crosser with backbench Tory MPs intent on replacing him in double-quick time, in such a way as to inflict maximum damage on the Government and create confusion and chaos in the country.
Partly, my thoughts are of Red Wall rebels. They have an average age not much higher than 30 but a very low mental age.
Christian Wakeford, one of them, threw himself in the arms of Sir Keir Sternmer yesterday.
Without Boris Johnson — and, I must admit, his former chief adviser, the scheming Dominic Cummings — these Red Wall Tories wouldn’t have been elected in 2019.
The election strategy that wooed disgruntled Labour votes who were Brexit-sensitized is the reason they are not well-known.
I’m also thinking of so-called Tory grandees actively plotting Boris’s defenestration. One of them, the former Cabinet Minister and erstwhile would-be Conservative leader David Davis, popped his head above the parapet yesterday and told Mr Johnson ‘in the name of God, go’.
Mr Davis is a maverick who doesn’t lead many troops, but there are others like him lurking in the undergrowth.
Incidentally, at the end of October he maintained that the Commons investigation into Owen Paterson’s business dealings had been flawed, and the PM stupidly listened to him.
These exaggerated intriguers have some questions. Wouldn’t it be sensible, as well as fair to the Prime Minister, to wait for Sue Gray’s report before precipitating a Tory leadership contest that would be bloody and divisive?
Tony Blair is greeted by troops in Basra as he visits British soldiers in Iraq. This was in January 2004.
Winston Churchill (centre) attends a meeting with Allied Forces leaders at their headquarters in Algiers, Algeria, May 27, 1943, to plan the invasion of Sicily
Although the report isn’t conclusive, it may be helpful. However, it must still be possible, even though it may not be conclusive, for Mr Johnson to be exonerated of any most grave charges.
It would surely be humane and wise to review it before making a decision about whether or not to push him over the edge.
The second question I have for the conspirators was whether or not they had any thoughts about who would replace Boris Johnson, Tory leader and Prime Minster.
Rishi sunak is one frontrunner to be the next Chancellor. Although he seems capable and likeable, he is not well-tested. Are his qualities as a leader innate? Are voters likely to be attracted to him? Nobody seems to be able to answer that question.
The Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the main contender for this post should also be questioned. Is she an embryonic Margaret Thatcher, who didn’t provoke much Press enthusiasm when she threw her hat into the Tory leadership contest in 1975? Is she self-promotional? I don’t know.
Many Tory MPs as well as grassroots members may not be aware of the merits of either candidate or the potential other candidates if there was a leadership race.
It is better to be patient and wait than rush ahead. Boris is well-known. We are aware of his flaws — and his qualities, which Brexit-haters, the BBC and Dominic Cummings will never acknowledge.
In the rush to replace him, the Conservative Party mustn’t plump for a defective leader.
We should also not forget Johnson’s lack of discipline, regrettable tendency for telling untruths, and his pliability. However, there are some unquestionable political achievements. Brexit wouldn’t have happened without him.
His efforts were also key to the Tories winning their largest total majority since 1987 in December 2019.
After thirty years of governing with minorities, or being in opposition to it, and after once having been forced into a miserable coalition with the Lib Dems the Conservative Party became preeminent.
Although Rishi Sunak appears to be a competent and agreeable person, he is not yet tested.
Similar concerns should be expressed about Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
Furthermore, the PM has refused to follow the Labour-recommended strict measures during this latest pandemic phase, even though there were a few hundred Tory rebels trying to get him down.
Normal circumstances would have seen his yesterday’s removal of all remaining Covid restrictions from England as a victory for his policy and a demonstration of his inability to follow the crowd.
I’m not saying that the recklessness and the lies should all be forgiven and forgotten — far from it.
My suggestion is that the Tory party, which can be fractious or near-hysterical at times, should take a step back and assess their situation before embarking on a dangerous course of action.
Boris could be prime minister next year. This seems impossible, but it’s possible. He would need to express regret in a clear and compelling manner for this to occur.
He would also have to give Tory MPs and the public reason to believe that he won’t go on repeating the same old mistakes — a tall order for a 57-year-old man set in his ways.
It is what it is. He has granted Labour an undeserved lead in the polls. If this is maintained for any length of time, I can’t see him remaining as Prime Minister. He wouldn’t be able to.
But it is possible — just possible — that he might atone and improve and recover. He wished he had wiser people to help him. Not least Marina, his ex-wife. She was the one on whom he relied for sound advice. Unfortunately, the ship is gone.
I want to emphasize that waiting is futile. However, a heavy price can be paid by the Tory party if it splinters in public and elects an unsatisfying leader.
Don’t get rid of Boris yet.