Column: Boris Johnson - moving on, not moving out

Move on.That’s Boris Johnson’s response every time he is trapped in the headlights and shredded of what’s left of his dignity.

Friday, 10th June 2022, 5:19 pm

Partygate? Move on.

A booze culture? Move on.

A police fine? Move on.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the National Service of Thanksgiving to Celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen (Photo by Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Damaged beyond repair by a no confidence vote? Move on.

Johnson could probably burn 10 Downing Street to the ground, be caught outside with a box of matches in his hand and still say ‘move on’ - nothing,absolutely nothing, makes him accept responsibility for his actions or conduct.

He has mastered the Trump playbook – its vanity, its arrogance and its disdain for all who dare to criticise or challenge.

Deny everything, bluster, state that if it happened he wasn’t aware, re-assure people no rules were broken, but if they were it was unintentional, and he wasn’t there, but when it turns out he was, explain he thought they were something else entirely, and only when shoved into a corner, accept minimal responsibility while denying your very own statements saying it didn’t happen.

And then move on leaving behind a trail of utter chaos.

He is the political equivalent of a dog chasing its own tail.

His interview immediately after the result of the vote of no confidence was announced was a perfect example of his many shortcomings.

He looked shabby, he spoke without authority or any sense of stature.

The spin machine had clearly told him to emphasise key words and phrases to convey authority and control. It just made him look like he was trying desperately hard, and failing, to remember his lines on the first night of a play at Eton.

Johnson’s authority has now crumbled.

The backbenchers - who owe him no loyalty - have finally rebelled.

And having broken that dam, it will be so much easier to do defy their Prime Minister once more should any contentious issues arise. And they will ...

And when politicians turn on their own, it can get very ugly very quickly.

Johnson still has to face an inquiry into whether he knowingly lied to the Commons. That could finish him off. Many would say it should.

Then there is the matter of two by-elections caused by his own backbenchers’ scandalous behaviour.

The boos which rang loud and clear as he arrived at a service of thanksgiving for The Queen would have been unthinkable even for David Cameron or Teresa May at the height of the Brexit debate.

And still, he moves on,

And when he arrived at the Platinum Jubilee concert he was booed again before becoming the butt of the best joke of the night, broadcast live on the BBC.

Those moments matter.

When your Prime Minister becomes an object of ridicule then we all suffer.

Johnson has presided over a culture of boozing at the heart of Government - of parties and ‘work gatherings’ which were explicitly denied to everyone else.

His is a repugnant Government, and every one of its failings and shortcomings rest entirely on his shoulders.

The voters in two June by-elections caused by Tory MPs own appalling behaviour will surely blast another gaping hole in the Good Ship Bojo.

If they do, he will seek to move on.

He needs to move out.

Or be moved out.