BORIS JOHNSON is a badly damaged Prime Minister following yesterday evening’s vote.

The result showed that 41.2 per cent of his own MPs do not want him in No 10. By comparison, 37 per cent of Tory MPs did not back Theresa May in her confidence vote, and that so damaged her that she was gone within six months.

So Tory MPs have given Mr Johnson permission to carry on, but they have also asked: “For how much longer?” How much longer can they put up with the shenanigans that always seem to surround him?

MPs were voting on his personality as much as his policies. With Mrs May, few people doubted that she was, at heart, an honest, trustworthy person, but can the same be said of Mr Johnson?

If he had an unpopular policy, like Margaret Thatcher’s poll tax, he might be able to change tack to win back support, but this was a judgement on his character, on his integrity, on whether he is fit to be PM, on the indefensible and hypocritical law-breaking that went on in Downing Street during lockdown.

Now the North East desperately wants Mr Johnson to get on and level up. It cannot be just a vague slogan – there have to be infrastructure improvements, public service improvements, measures to tackle the growing menace of poverty. There has to be energy in that agenda.

The worry is, though, that with so many of his own side against him, the PM will be fighting against persistent mutterings and continual malcontent so that he does not have that energy. The size of last night’s rebellion does not bode well for Mr Johnson and nor for the country.