Prime suspect Boris Johnson gives Sue Gray the slip in Wales

Boris Johnson: Where are we off to?

Special adviser: Wales.

Johnson: Why?

Special adviser: Why not? You haven’t been there for a while and the diary is empty now that the Sue Gray report is taking longer than expected. Plus, it’s far enough away from London for you to be unable to make a statement to parliament today even if the report was to be delivered.

Johnson: Makes sense. Maybe if I make myself scarce every day for the next week everyone will just forget about Sue Gray.

Special adviser: I don’t think Sue Gray is going to forget about Sue Gray. Or the rest of the country. Plus, there’s a limit to how obstructive we can be seen to have been. So try not to think about the report today and use the time while we’re travelling to call Tory MPs to shore up support in case there’s a no confidence vote.

Johnson: Is that Archie?

Tory MP: No, it’s Andy.

Johnson: Of course you are. Good to speak to you Sandy. It’s the Suspect here. I mean, the prime minister. I’m just calling to find out how you are …

Tory MP: To be honest, I’ve had better months …

Johnson: Me too.

Tory MP: Look, I’ll admit when I first heard about all the parties inside No 10 I was a bit shocked. But now I’ve calmed down and had a bit of time to reflect, I can see you deserve to be cut a bit of slack …

Johnson: That’s very good of you. I was working tremendously hard and it can be so easy to walk into one’s garden to find trestle tables full of food and dozens of people getting pissed and conclude you were still at a Covid test-and-trace briefing. Not to mention the shock of being ambushed by a cake in the cabinet room while my wife and the interior designer – among others – sang Happy Birthday.

Tory MP: That must have been terrifying. As I said, I have no problem with you lying. We all knew you were a pathological liar when we elected you party leader so it would be totally unreasonable of us to expect you to change. The trouble is that my inbox has been full of constituents who don’t feel the same way. They are furious that you have obviously misled parliament and taken the country for granted.

Johnson: I can assure you I have done nothing wrong and that I’m the innocent victim in all this …

Tory MP: Yes, yes. Save all this for the police. I believe you. But what are you going to do to put things right?

Johnson: What would you like me to do?

Tory MP: Well, you could get rid of that smirk for a start. And then you could try being a bit more Conservative …

Johnson: What could be more Conservative than having brought the government to a complete standstill with a “one rule for us and another rule for the little people” scandal? It’s a classic of the genre.

Tory MP: Good point, well made. But maybe you could have another look at the national insurance increase in April?

Johnson: We are the party of low taxes except when we are raising them. Can I just say that it is all Rishi Sunak’s fault. He gave me bad advice and is to blame for making me do it …

Tory MP: What does that mean exactly?

Johnson: I’m not entirely sure. I’m fully behind the rise until the moment when I find the whole party is about to dump me, at which point I will do a reverse ferret. Or maybe I won’t …

Tory MP: I see. Moving on. What are you going to do about Brexit?

Johnson: What would you like me to do?

Tory MP: Could we try diverging further from the EU?

Johnson: Even if it’s pointless and more expensive for British business?

Tory MP: Especially if it’s pointless and more expensive for British business. We need a futile gesture to show that we have really taken back control.

Johnson: OK, if you insist. It’s no skin off my nose if GDP tanks. Just so long as I’m still in a job.

Tory MP: That’s more like it. Now what else have you got planned?

Johnson: Well, in the short term, I’m planning on going to Australia in the February recess …

Tory MP: What for?

Johnson: No reason, really. Just Liz Truss said the private jet was amazing.

Tory MP: That’s just what voters need to see. You sunning yourself, while the rest of the country freezes its nuts off.

Johnson: Must go. I’ve just reached Wales. Just remember you’re in line for a ministerial post at the next reshuffle. And that if you don’t support me then funding to your constituency will be cut. Goodbye. Lovely to chat.

ITV: Could you explain why everyone in Whitehall seems to think you personally intervened to prioritise the rescue of animals over people from Afghanistan?

Johnson: I never did. That’s total rhubarb. Anyone who says different is a liar.

ITV: Mmm. But there are emails and a letter from Trudy Harrison, your PPS. And surely no one else but you could have organised such a flight at such short notice.

Harrison: You definitely did.

Johnson: I didn’t. Just remember your place. Your job is – like everyone else who works for me – to lose your job when required. Everything is about me.

Harrison: You’re right. You definitely did nothing wrong. I was acting in an entirely personal capacity on behalf of my constituents. Even though none of my constituents were involved.

Johnson: That’s better. Now can I go home? I need to try to redact the Sue Gray report.

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