BORIS JOHNSON is entitled to a private life and the "Corbynista curtain-twitchers", as Jacob Rees Mogg called them, who passed recordings of his late night row with his girlfriend to a newspaper obviously intended to cause him trouble.

But we cannot now unknow what was in those recordings and so Conservative members must take that knowledge into account when they have the privilege of electing the next Prime Minister.

They may love Mr Johnson's charisma; they may be convinced that he genuinely believes in Brexit; they may sense that he is a big beast who could take down Nigel Farage or Jeremy Corbyn in a general election (which is looking more likely by the day).

But just as charisma is important, so is character. Are they sure that Mr Johnson, whose private life looks far from the strong and stable so beloved by Theresa May, is the man to lead intricate negotiations with the EU and to make measured and detailed decisions about the future of the country? If Donald Trump had called his special friend the British Prime Minister on Friday to say he was ten minutes from bombing Iran, would Mr Johnson have been in a fit state to give him any advice?

Being prime minister is more than a jolly jape. Can Conservatives trust Mr Johnson when Mr Johnson's own team appears not to trust him to take part in TV and radio debates?