DOMINIC CUMMINGS is a fabulous flamethrower who leaves scorched earth behind him and very little still standing – a part from himself.

Twenty years ago, the North-East saw him torch the idea of regional government – something the Conservatives have only recently begun to put right with metro mayors. He torched our relationship with Europe without providing a blueprint for future trade deals or for the Irish border. He entered Downing Street hoping to burn down the civil service, and yesterday he razed Matt Hancock to the ground and left Boris Johnson’s reputation a smoking ruin.

It was an extraordinary performance, and even though Mr Cummings’ own reputation isn’t good, partly because of his lockdown-breaking trip to Durham, he raised many serious questions. Indeed, some of them about how we run those country with ministers and advisors parachuted into departments without any relevant experience, are profound.

The public knew that Mr Johnson delayed locking down, they probably knew that he was a bit of a “shopping trolley” veering all over the place, but they have been prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt because no government could have handled this unique situation perfectly and because the vaccine roll-out has been genuinely world-beating.

As scandals, like wallpapergate, rolled off him, Mr Johnson looked untouchable, but now it does look like the flamethrower has penetrated his armour and scorched him so badly?