AT midday, Boris Johnson put the nation out of its misery and resigned. He had to go. His position was untenable. He was indefensible.

And yet he hasn’t gone. He’s still there. Still in No 10. Still urging the cabinet “to put their foot to the pedal”.

This is Alice in Wonderland politics. He’s gone but he stays.

All those cabinet members who queued up to say that they could no longer serve with him because, in the words of Rishi Sunak, he wasn’t running the government properly, competently or seriously, have now gone back into government with him expecting the public to believe that the government will suddenly become proper, competent and serious.

Yes, it is only for a couple of months until a new leader is selected but the public wanted Mr Johnson out because they were tired of his untruths and bluster and they wanted proper, competent and serious government. Now they are told they are going to have to wait a few months to get what should be their right.

How much notice is Vladimir Putin going to take of Mr Johnson’s warnings now that he knows that all power and respect has drained away from the interim PM?

It has taken a monumental effort by Tory MPs to prise Mr Johnson’s fingertips from the levers of power, but they’ve only moved him into a halfway house.

Surely this moment is exactly what a deputy leader exists for – to step in when the leader is indisposed and then steer the ship until another captain of state is appointed.