Do the Tory whips have Boris’s back?

Whips are made for leadership crises. They are a party leader’s early warning system; they can sniff out plots before they get going. So it is, as I report in this week’s magazine, far from ideal for Boris Johnson that relations between him and the whips office remain strained. The problem dates back to the Owen Paterson affair. The whips were furious that their chief, Mark Spencer, received so much of the blame when they felt he was just following orders from No. 10. The result, one Johnson ministerial loyalist complains, is that ‘the whips’ office are on a go-slow’. When Labour went on the attack with an urgent question on Tuesday,