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For all of the turbulence and the tempestuous events of the last 48 hours, the key drivers which will determine the prime minister's future remain broadly the same.

A large number of MPs, possibly a majority, are unhappy with Boris Johnson's premiership.

Sue Gray report : When is inquiry due, what does it mean for Boris Johnson and who decides what happens next?

A vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson remains a distinct possibility at this point.

but will this resolve the question of mr johnson has lost steve baker, the brexiteer who did most to unseat his predecessor- and with it risks one of parliament's best organisers in an opposing camp.

If he wins, the scale of the revolt against him could still prove ultimately fatal : Theresa May won her vote of no confidence by 200-117 in December 2018, and she was out six months later.

Boris Johnson was never loved by the Conservative party before he became its leader in 2019.

With the Tories mired on just 20 per cent, third or even fourth in some surveys, MPs and activists trusted Mr Johnson to revive his "Heineken" reputation – reaching parts of the electorate others can not.

The gamble paid off handsomely, with a massive majority in December 2019 and Brexit delivered a month later.

This is why, even if he survives his current troubles and makes it through to the spring, the Conservatives are likely to demand a new leader before the next election in 2024.

As one former minister puts it : "His stock in trade is popularity.

If that's gone, what ’ s left ?"

"Mr Johnson is regarded with some suspicion by voters," its editorial admitted.

In making this argument, it was joined by the vast majority of national newspapers, and by the end of that week they got their wish.

Scarcely a word is said about how a rotten political culture chose this cracked actor to be prime minister in the first place.

In saying this, I am not making light of the Downing Street parties.

It is part of my culture for friends to come over with meals for the bereaved, to sit with them in mourning.

He practically bragged about his ability to pull off such feats.

These aren ’ t aimed at winning back the public, but kissing up to the rightwing press and the Tory headbangers who can keep him in No 10.

The Right Hon Member for Greensill or the chancellor for BlackRock were just as determined at trashing the public sector.

It's not that only 15 per cent of Conservative MPs think that the Partygate revelations have harmed the Prime Minister and the party.

“ Anything that does throw the book at the PM is simply a catastrophe. ” Nor is there widespread confidence in the Government's ability to overcome any of the bigger policy challenges coming down the track, be it the rising cost of living or the pressures on the NHS.

One reason is simply that the next few months look likely to be very painful for the Government, regardless of who is in charge.

That ’ s the "reward" side of the “ risk ” calculation that Tory MPs must make.

The first, and the most neglected one by Conservatives, is that the next few months won ’ t damage Johnson ’ s would-be-successors as well as him.

Take Rishi Sunak, the bookmakers' favourite and currently one of the most popular politicians in the country.

His March 2021 Budget was a political masterstroke, whatever you think of its contents.

If it looks like October 2021, it ’ s possible that Conservative MPs will find that they go from the present situation, where they have an unpopular Prime Minister and a popular Chancellor, to one in which neither the Prime Minister nor the Chancellor are popular.

If Sunak goes down in flames, that may help his leadership rivals, like Liz Truss or Jeremy Hunt.

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