WHEN he metaphorically got in to bed with Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak must have feared that it might end in tears, and initially it seemed as if Mr Johnson’s high spending ways would rub off on him and he would gain the reputation for being a non-traditional Tory Chancellor who raised taxes.

But now both men have been fined for breaking their own lockdown rules they are caught in a deadly embrace.

If one goes, the other must go.

And if Mr Johnson were to go over the fine, it is impossible to see how Mr Sunak could replace him in No 10.

It does seem a little hard on Mr Sunak. On the day in question, he turned up early for a meeting and was confronted by the Prime Minister’s birthday party, which he could hardly snub. His breaking of the rules may turn out to be not as flagrant or persistent as that of Mr Johnson, who has also misled Parliament, either knowingly or otherwise, but they are now in this together.

There is genuine public anger over partygate because it blatantly breaks the laws of natural justice, although, loyally, there is some sympathy for Mr Sunak in his Richmond constituency.

However, it is noticeable how little vocal support there is for the pair among local Tory MPs. They know this is not yet over. It is speculated that Mr Johnson could receive more fines – perhaps six – over further parties which would paint him as a serial offender. Surely even he won’t be able to brazen that out, and then Mr Sunak would have to go, too.

The Chancellor is now terribly, even terminally, tainted by his association with Mr Johnson, and, however unfair it may be, he must have known it was likely to happen when he chose to become his bedfellow.