Here is the piece I banged out quickly for The New European on the back of the breaking news about the criminals in Number 10 and Number 11 ….

Right, let’s have the four by-elections on the same day, can we?

Wakefield, for the seat that has to be vacated by the child sex abuser.

Somerton and Frome, to find a replacement for the Russian-oligarch-funded dandruff-snorter. 

Richmond, so that the thin-skinned, law-breaking, tax-efficient, multi-millionaire hedge fund Chancellor can collect his green card and go earn more millions in the States.

And Uxbridge where the lying, law-breaking charlatan who has disgraced the highest elected office in the land, and dragged the reputation of the country ever downwards, can go back to lying for newspapers and making people laugh in after dinner speeches and give the government of the country back to grown-ups again.

I have been saying for weeks … every day that Tory MPs prop up the Number 10 chancer, they damage themselves, their party and the country. If they keep trying to prop him up now, the whole wretched lot of them deserve to be swept into oblivion.

Johnson broke the law. Sunak too. Resigning offence. 

Johnson knowingly lied in Parliament. Sunak too. Resigning offence.

Johnson broke the ministerial code. Sunak too. Resigning offence.

Nor was it any old law. It was an emergency law devised in the very place where the parties were taking place, at a time of a national and international public health crisis, which forced millions to stay home, forced people to miss the funerals of loved ones, forced children to go months without seeing anyone but their parents, forced schools to shut, workplaces to shut, businesses to shut down, and all the time, as the stentorian warnings were issued from the podium in the Russian-built new media centre, Number 10 was on the lash, the two most important members of the government among them.

Nor was it just one lie to Parliament. With every changing excuse, every new effort to wriggle free, he built lie upon lie upon lie, and the entire Cabinet was dragooned to go out and lie for the liars.

So watch now as the Tory renatagobs get their orders and go out and say it is no more than a slap on the wrist, like a fine for speeding. It is not. It is an insult to every single person killed by Covid, and to every one of their families and friends. It is an insult to every decent, law-abiding citizen who obeyed the law, as ordered by these charlatans. I may have contempt for them, which has deepened today. But I have respect for the law, and the rule of law. They do not.

Democracy cannot function if its leaders lie, and break their own laws. That is why they have to go. The speeding fine analogy is inaccurate anyway. It is as if he knew he had been speeding, but stood up in court or in Parliament and despite evidence proving his guilt, he lied about it.

Spare me the nonsense that the country cannot change Prime Minister in the middle of a war. It might apply to President Zelensky. It does not apply to Johnson. I even wonder now if he made that visit to Kiev less to show support for Ukraine than because he knew this was coming, and the rentagobs will be told to parrot the war leader line.

There are seven principles governing public life, spelled out in the Ministerial Code. 

Honesty. He lied. 

Openness. He did everything possible to stop the truth coming out. 

Objectivity. He denied the facts even when he knew them.

Selflessness. He tried to blame underlings and the civil service ‘drinking culture’ – a culture that passed me by during my years in Number Ten.

Integrity. He wouldn’t recognise it if it hit him in the face.

Accountability. If he stays, it means there is none.

Leadership. Oh he leads OK. He leads then all down the same path, smashing every rule going, debasing the office, disgracing the country.

He is a truly dreadful man, without a moral compass, all about himself, unfit to lead a country as great as ours. Worse, the Tories know it, but hold on to the notion that because he is a ‘winner,’ and because there is no obvious replacement, they cannot let him go.

Pathetic. The lot of them. Happy now to be led by a criminal, are they? Happy to have the nation’s finances managed by another criminal? If so, there is not a shred of integrity among the lot of them.

Those of us who have known Johnson for a long time knew he would be a disaster as Prime Minister. Even I have been shocked that he has been unable to change his ways at all, meaning he just lurches from scrape to scrape, scandal to scandal. But even the most sycophantic Tory backbenchers no longer have a hiding place … they either believe in the rule of law, or they don’t; they believe in the rule that ministers must not lie to Parliament; or they don’t; they believe our elected leaders should uphold high standards, or they don’t. If they don’t, what on earth are they doing there in the first place?

P.s the news of the Johnson-Sunak fines came too late for the latest recording of The Rest Is Politics. But being good hard-working types, Rory Stewart and I got together later in the day to record an extra bit. He seems to feel every bit as strongly as I do. Out tomorrow, and along with Parties we discuss the French elections, Sunak’s other problems, Pakistan, and we run through lots of things Rory and I disagree about. Out first thing wherever you get your podcasts.