It reads like a declaration of war but in reality, today’s resignation statement matters because Boris Johnson is simply throwing in the towel on his political career.

Ever since he was slung out as prime minister, Mr Johnson has been a ghost at the Tory feast.

Politics latest: Boris Johnson quits

He sucked the oxygen out of the room, with the media and a slice of the Tory party still hanging off his every word as if it mattered.

A more sober analysis suggests it does not, and today’s decision is less about taking a public stand, and more a recognition he is never “coming back” and doesn’t have the support in Parliament even to make causing trouble fun.

In 12 months’ time, today’s decision will be seen in another light – as an inevitability, rather than simply the consequences of the privileges committee and its demand he face a by-election.

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When Boris Johnson triggered by-election

Read more:
Johnson stands down as MP
What led to shock departure?
Resignation statement in full

The massive earnings outside of Westminster, and the fact he would never likely have numbers to run for leader given the stain on his reputation – these are not reasons for staying.

If he remained, he would likely undermine the current and every future Tory leader through his magnetism, charm, troublesome cunning and presence.

That’s why, once more, he has voted to leave: to preserve the myth, and not put it to the test with reality.

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