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Boris Johnson’s guilt is beyond doubt. There is no way back from this | Simon Jenkins

The failure to block the motion to refer the prime minister to the Commons privileges committee is a watershed moment

Boris Johnson is in serious trouble. He faces danger on all fronts. His capitulation to the Commons privileges committee leaves him open to the risk of being found lying to parliament. Resignation would have to follow. Beyond that, he has the May elections and further penalty notices ahead. Even his talents as a political Houdini will be tested.

The issue is not what he did. No one doubts that there were rule-breaking gatherings in Downing Street during coronavirus restrictions. Proof enough lay in the resignations that followed their disclosure. In December last year, Sue Gray was asked, quite unnecessarily, to see whether they were true. The Metropolitan police then did likewise, proceeding with inexcusable delay, as if the culprits were an elusive and secretive mafia. This favoured Boris Johnson’s strategy of playing bad news long, hoping for luck and events to postpone any day of judgment. The home secretary, Priti Patel, should have ordered the police to resolve this matter immediately months ago. It is suspicious that she did not.

Simon Jenkins is a Guardian columnist

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