THROUGHOUT partygate, we have said that should the Prime Minister be found guilty, he cannot carry on. He should resign.

During lockdown, he urged on a nightly basis that people should abide by his rules and yet at the same time he was breaking those rules himself – this brings into question his integrity, his judgement, his trustworthiness, his leadership.

He has misled Parliament, and he has made a laughing stock of his role: he was somehow ambushed by a cake and failed to recognise that his own 56th birthday party was in fact a party.

So of course he, and his Chancellor Rishi Sunak should resign on points of principle, but it seems unlikely.

The war in Ukraine has changed the dynamic – Mr Johnson has had a pretty good war and, with France in electoral turmoil, the last thing Europe needs is the UK changing horses.

Mr Sunak’s own difficulties have also changed the equation. If the Richmond MP were still squeaky clean he may have made Mr Johnson’s grip on No 10 more tenuous, but, even without his wife’s tax affairs, as he too has picked up a partygate fine, it’s hard to see how if Mr Johnson goes over partygate, he could replace him.

The North East might also have to be careful what it wishes for: levelling up was very much a Johnson creation and it is hard to see a Tory leader like Liz Truss prepared to even consider throwing millions of pounds at a railway line like the Leemside that she’s never heard of.

So the morally undermined PM looks set to do what he does best, and that’s brazen out an embarrassment: but the local elections in May will give some of the public at least a chance to pass judgement.