This is the end of days for this PM, but a ‘delusional’ Johnson is the only one who can’t see it


It has been an almost unbelievable 24 hours of political drama, as the resignations of Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak triggered a run of events that look to have sealed Boris Johnson’s fate.

Since that moment on Tuesday evening, the PM has endured dozens of government resignations, a delegation of cabinet ministers telling him to go, and a visit from Sir Graham Brady to tell him that he no longer commands the support of a sizeable chunk of his parliamentary party.

It’s the stuff that would finish off pretty much any other politician. But Boris Johnson is cut from a different cloth. He ended Wednesday’s siege still holed up at No 10 and full of defiance in the face of almost certain defeat.

As ever, Mr Johnson is breaking all conventions and still believing he can defy political gravity when anyone else in his position would have surely walked by now.

Instead, this the message from No 10 on Wednesday night. The PM isn’t going anywhere, but will instead plough on with outlining his economic plan for tax cuts in a speech next week.

Politics Hub: Boris Johnson tells cabinet ministers ‘no, I’m not going’ – live updates

To the cabinet who would want him gone, his reply was to sack Michael Gove. To his parliamentary party threatening a re-run of a confidence vote, his reply was to ‘bring it on’, or on the words of one No 10 source, “to call Graham [Brady’s] bluff” and make MPs force him out rather than watch him walk.

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But the suggestion that the prime minister can continue in any meaningful way is, to put it bluntly, delusional. He has lost dozens of government members and a handful of the cabinet.

Read more: Cabinet resignations: Who’s staying and who’s going?

It’s unclear if he can even fill the vacancies in his government, let alone command the support of his cabinet. Simon Hart, the Welsh Secretary, resigned on Wednesday night – with five cabinet ministers now gone. He may have a small band of loyalists in this No 10 team, but he can’t command his cabinet, his government, his party or lead his country.

Where are we left after this staggering 24 hours? With a PM clinging on to the very last moment and cabinet ministers now weighing up what they do next after even loyalists like Priti Patel laid it out to Mr Johnson in no uncertain terms, that the party is no longer behind him.

Mr Gove has gone as has Mr Hart. Suella Braverman, the Attorney General, says the PM should resign and she will run.

In the coming days more will undoubtedly resign and throw their hats in the ring to replace the current PM.

And failing that, the parliamentary party are gearing up to force another confidence vote in the PM next week, and support isn’t just dwindling but tanking.

Mr Johnson’s clear that he’s prepared to face that vote, but the writing’s on the wall that this is a test at the ballot box he won’t win.

Ask just about anyone in Westminster now – Johnson friend or foe – and they’ll agree this is the end of days for this PM.

But Boris Johnson is a politician now governed by only one thing: his visceral desire to remain in No 10. The question really now, is how long will his MPs let him.

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