Rishi Sunak needs a firmer grip if he is to successfully hold his traumatised party together

Rishi Sunak’s watchword as Prime Minister is simple: delivery. Every success he has had in the role – a revised Brexit deal, calming the markets, improved international relations – has been the result of quietly getting on with the job.

So it will be immensely frustrating to the No 10 team that this week will be dominated by questions about Boris Johnson and his followers.

The former PM has a habit of stealing the limelight every so often, for better or for worse. Monday’s publication of the evidence he plans to rely on in the privileges committee probe into “Partygate” will be the amuse-bouche before Wednesday’s marathon live hearing.

Most voters will already have made up their mind on whether or not Mr Johnson lied to Parliament, and if so whether or not it matters. Any prospect of a Downing Street comeback before the next general election now seems to have vanished, so the stakes may be lower than they once seemed.

But no one beats Mr Johnson for political theatre and it is understandable that Mr Sunak has decided to put Government business on hold until after the circus has moved on.

Perhaps more significant in the longer run will be the vote, also on Wednesday, on whether to approve the Prime Minister’s Windsor framework on Northern Ireland trade.

Its outcome is not in doubt – Mr Sunak will win. But if he cannot hold the support of the Democratic Unionist Party, and if more than around a dozen Tory MPs vote against the deal, it will show the Prime Minister’s grip on the Government is still a shaky one. Those recent successes are nothing but good news for Mr Sunak, but his traumatised party has not yet healed and he has work to do to keep it together.

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