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Why Boris Johnson will not resign over Partygate

Boris Johnson has become the first serving prime minister to be sanctioned for breaking the law - but don’t expect him to fall on his sword

<p>The police have fined Boris Johnson for taking part in his own birthday party in the Cabinet Room of No 10 (Photo: Getty)</p>

The police have fined Boris Johnson for taking part in his own birthday party in the Cabinet Room of No 10 (Photo: Getty)

Waiting for Boris Johnson to resign is the political equivalent of Waiting for Godot. Completely futile, in other words.

That moment, that point of self-reflection, that realisation that being the leader of the nation comes with a degree of integrity - it’s not in his DNA.

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To his allies, Johnson is the survivor, the Teflon-clad political animal whose cult of personality sees him through any crisis or scandal.

To his enemies, he’s the definition of the unrepentant scoundrel, a walking, talking moral vaccuum, who doesn’t so much break the rules as act as if they were never written in the first place.

He has spent his life and career (both in journalism and politics) wilfully causing trouble from the sidelines, writing, saying and doing whatever he likes without consequence, and now he’s in the top job he’s not going to suddenly discover his principles and have a bout of conscience.

It doesn’t matter that millions of people - including millions who voted for him in 2019 - followed his Government’s Covid restrictions to the letter.

It doesn’t matter that people postponed weddings, shielded away from their friends and family for months or even missed funerals of loved ones.

What matters to Boris Johnson is himself. Self-preservation and self-advancement, pure and simple.

From his time at Eton to his Bullingdon Club days, his eyes have been on the prize of power. Gaining power for himself, and diminishing the power of rivals.

The war in Ukraine, combined with the parliamentary recess, has meant that the real sting has been taken out of Partygate.

Johnson and his newly overhauled team of advisors know that they can ride this one out.

The fact that Rishi Sunak has also been issued with a fine by the Met means that the seesaw-like dynamic between No.10 and No.11 remains unchanged.

Boris Johnson will not resign. He is playing the long game, knowing that outrage inevitably diminishes and the news agenda moves on.

Whether or not the eventual publication of Sue Gray’s long-awaited report changes that remains to be seen.