The likelihood is that the disaster that is Johnson’s premiership will be inflicted on us for a while longer yet

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Boris Johnson has at least three problems this morning.

First, he does not know what he is for, apart from holding the position of prime minister so that no one else can.

Second, he is widely known now to be incompetent, a liar and a law-breaker.

Third, some Tory MPs have added these two together and are asking why Johnson is a worthwhile leader of their party as a result.

I have no better clue as to how many Tory MPs are explicit about this than anyone else. Rumour has it that the figure saying they have submitted letters suggesting that they wish for a leadership election is close to 30. Fifty-four are required to trigger an election on whether he should remain leader, or not. When Theresa May faced a similar situation with the 48 letters required to trigger such an election having been submitted only 27 had been declared publicly. There is every reason to think that the same ratio might apply now. In that case Johnson might face a vote on whether he should remain leader of the Tories as early as next week.

The chance that the Conservatives will win the two by-elections in June is, in that case, remote. Their chance is destroyed by internal party disputes. Tory MPs need to take that into account.

The likelihood of winning the next election is equally remote: no leader can be confident in the presentation of their case to the country when they know their own party has major doubts about them. Tory MPs should also take that into account.

But, and this is my concern, that does not mean that Johnson will go now.

Despite the obvious evidence in favour of doing so I am not convinced most Tory MPs will vote against him if there were to be a vote on his leadership next week. They are stupid, after all, with evidence and reasoning appearing to be of little consequence to them.

And if he scrapes home by even the smallest margin I am sure Johnson would not resign.

I am not even confident he would resign if he lost: I think his Cabinet would have to force him out, which would be ugly and fatal for Tory hopes. But in Johnson's world, only Johnson matters.

So, do I think the Johnson era is over as yet? I very much doubt it. We must suffer for longer, and under 1922 Committee rules if Johnson survives a leadership challenge another cannot be staged for a further twelve months. Whether that would be politically realistic or not is hard to tell. But what is likely is that the disaster that is Johnson's premiership will be inflicted on us for a while longer yet, even though even his own party is losing faith.