Yes, you read that correctly. The parties that have spent the past month accusing Johnson of mounting some sort of coup just voted to prevent him from subjecting his tenure to a national vote.

The House of Commons has thus put itself in a ridiculous position. Pro-EU MPs have voted to keep in office a government they have calculatedly undermined. They have done so for the sole purpose of overturning a referendum result which they had previously promised to uphold. That, my friends, is our political crisis in a nutshell.

Now the good news. Voters are not idiots. They can see what is going on. Sooner or later, probably sooner, there will have to be a general election. The Conservatives have, in effect, deselected 21 of their MPs, including several former ministers, for voting with Labour to prevent Brexit. Although that purge has horrified commentators, most of whom are in awe of the Europhile grandees, it is a necessary prelude to an election campaign that will turn on Brexit. The Tories could hardly fight an election promising to leave the EU while several of their candidates refused to accept that policy. Though the pundits are fainting like affronted matrons, voters appreciate Johnson’s strength of purpose.