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“And that,” a senior minister messaged me last week, “is why they should never have got rid of Boris.” He was referring to the implosion of the Tory party amid plunging poll ratings and a disastrous conference at which cabinet ministers disagreed publicly over just about everything.
For now the mantra from Johnson’s most loyal supporters is that they are backing Liz Truss – “Back Liz, Back Liz” is what Boris has told them. When repeated by his fans it sounds unconvincing, as though there’s a hint of a smirk there, or if this was a Netflix drama, or the original House of Cards, a break the fourth wall look to the camera and raise of an eyebrow.
Nadine Dorries, the former Culture Secretary and Number One Boris fan, has given several interviews now in which she is billed as a leading supporter of Liz Truss. With friends like these, who needs enemies?