THESE are increasingly looking like the end of days for Boris Johnson. How can he possibly wriggle out of this one? Why does he need an inquiry to tell him whether he attended a party in his own back garden and whether he took along his own bottle?

The start of the New Year was supposed to be Mr Johnson’s reset after the sleaze and scandal of the Paterson affair and the flat redecoration, and a time for his Government to get on with what North East voters charged them with: levelling up.

But the same story keeps repeating itself, with anger growing from ordinary people who abided by rules to the painful detriment of their families.

Once Mr Johnson’s maverick approach was part of his appeal, but now the Downing Street operation he has fashioned in his own image just looks scruple-free, out-of-touch, ill-disciplined and without leadership.

The only positive for the Prime Minister is that he has time before the report is published to work out a story for his defence and to sort out which of his minions are going to be forced into carrying the can and losing their jobs.

It will have to be the best story of his journalistic career because neither people nor party can take much more of this shambolic farce.