Boris Johnson, so the joke goes, will always be remembered as the third prime minister to have been brought down by…Boris Johnson. After bringing down his old rival David Cameron by campaigning for Brexit, and then helping to bring down Theresa May by campaigning against her soft Brexit, Johnson then set the stage for his own exit by presiding over the partygate scandal.
And now, last night, that scandal culminated in Boris Johnson essentially jumping out of Westminster before he could be pushed – choosing to resign as an MP before the findings of the Commons Privileges Committee, which has been investigating whether he misled parliament, are published.
It’s certainly a calculated move: an exit designed to give him a way back into politics should he need one in the future. And it’s classic Boris.
With one eye on his future after a likely Conservative defeat in 2024, and the other on settling scores with his enemies, his resignation letter pulls no punches. He denounces the investigation as a ‘kangaroo court’. He accuses those leading it as politically prejudiced. He points out the hypocrisy of senior civil servant Sue Gray turning her guns on him only to later get hired by Sir Keir Starmer. And he takes aim at the opposition parties for ‘doing whatever they can’ to get rid of him.
He also clings to the same populist style which ran through his Brexit and 2019 campaigns – contrasting a tiny cabal in Westminster with the apparently gushing, adoring, pro-Boris masses out there in the country who are just sitting around, waiting for him to lead them once again to the sunlit uplands:
We need to deliver on the 2019 manifesto, which was endorsed by 14 million people. We should remember that more than 17 million voted for Brexit. I