The phone call that Boris Johnson was bracing for finally came as he was preparing for Sunday’s Platinum Jubilee finale. Conservative Party grandee Graham Brady confirmed that more than 15% of the prime minister’s own MPs had submitted letters of no-confidence. A vote on his future was imminent.

For hours, though, Johnson was unable to react. Instead he sat looking untroubled in a makeshift royal box near Buckingham Palace watching a parade of soldiers, James Bond cars and celebrity bakers celebrate the Queen’s 70 years on the throne. A couple of seats away sat Labour leader Keir Starmer, unaware of the new threat to his political rival.

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