‘Partygate’ could finish Boris Johnson – and boot the Tories out of No 10

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It was the moment when Boris Johnson channelled his hero, Winston Churchill, in a bid to win the Conservative Party leadership in 2019.

“My message to you today is: the hour is darkest before the dawn,” he told Tory councillors as Brexit hung on a knife-edge. “We can turn this thing around.”

But that was then, and this is now.

The wartime Prime Minister famously said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” 

Yet as far as the Conservative faithful are concerned, there is only so much “buggering on” that Churchill’s biographer and successor can continue to do.

The revival of “partygate” with the revelation that Martin Reynolds, Mr Johnson’s Principal Private Secretary, invited 100 staff to a lockdown-busting bash at Downing Street could well prove to be the final nail in the coffin.

It isn’t just the fact that lockdown rules were broken, hugely damaging though that is. It is that the party itself appears to be a microcosm of everything that has gone wrong with a Number 10 administration that has lost its grip, doesn’t appear willing to heed advice and has repeatedly been found guilty of behaving with arrogant complacency.

Writing for The Telegraph last Friday, David Davis, the former Brexit Secretary, suggested Mr Johnson could “save himself from disaster” with an organisational and philosophical reset. 

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