The real reason Boris Johnson blew up his own government in defence of Owen Paterson
Something doesn't add up about the events of this week.
Covering the events in Parliament this week this week has felt a bit like trying to paint a watercolour of a sinking ship. Every time you think you have a grip on the picture, another part of the boat goes careering into the deep.
It all began on Wednesday when Boris Johnson launched a bizarre attempt to save his friend and former Cabinet colleague Owen Paterson from being suspended from Parliament.
The decision to try and save Paterson seemed odd in several respects.
The evidence against Paterson couldn’t have been clearer. The independent investigation showed that he had been using his office to commit paid advocacy for companies paying him £100,000 a year. Even his closest supporters don’t appear to deny this.
Paterson was a backbencher in an ultra-safe Tory seat. What was the dire need for the prime minister to save him?
And if there wasn’t such a dire need, then why do it when it was obviously so damaging and risky?
There seem to me to be two credible explanations for Johnson’s actions.