Less than a fortnight after his damaging vote of confidence poll, Boris Johnson had moved the agenda on from him and party-gate to Brexit and Rwanda this week.
Some suggested that conceding his ‘oven ready deal’ was actually only half-baked, and having to return to what threatens to be another long-drawn-out bun fight with the EU (and pro EU MPs), having promised to ‘get Brexit done’ would embarrass the PM.
Similarly, having to cancel a half-a-million-pound flight that was due to take seven (yes just seven) refugees to Rwanda was said by some to be yet another blow to the government.
Those who subscribe to that view miss the point. The more division and distraction he can create, the happier Johnson is. And he is betting that, with some degree of well-found confidence, enough Brits will back him and his government over the EU, the European Court of Human Rights, and Johnny Foreigner – whatever the rights and wrong of the argument.
The plan, if it was a plan, was having a modicum of success, as news platforms, tired of party-gate and Boris’ misdemeanours, had moved on, focussing heavily on Rees Mogg and Liz Truss getting tough with the Irish and our ‘European friends’ over the protocol arrangements relating to the Brexit agreement; Priti Patel’s attacks on ‘leftie’ lawyers, and Dominic Raab’s threat to ignore European Court rulings.
But then Boris’ ethics adviser resigned – and his personal future was back on the front pages, just when he’d hoped he had moved the debate on.
Lord Geidt, who has been in post for 14 months, during which time he has seen a fair number of what many would consider to be ‘unethical’ behaviours emanating from Downing Street, has seen enough. Johnson knows that many of his MPs and voters have had enough too. They are fed up of the PMs ‘lapses of judgement’. Bored of the Downing Street dramas. In the same way they got bored of Brexit shenanigans and wanted to just ‘get Brexit done’, they are now fed up with him.
He’s desperate to distract, divide, and hang on. Who will he pick a fight with next to try and hang on?