ANALYSIS: End is nigh for scandal-hit Matt Hancock
- Credit: PA
Political editor Richard Porritt on why Matt Hancock will survive for now - but not for long
Back in the early 1990s John Major's Conservative government lurched from disaster to scandal and back again on a weekly basis.
Cash for questions, favours from Saudi businessmen and Black Wednesday.
Makes a little kiss and cuddle seem rather tame doesn't it?
But unfortunately for Matt Hancock this story is going precisely nowhere.
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Not only is Mr Hancock's character being called into question he also broke the very Covid rules he has been imploring us all to steadfastly follow for month after laborious month.
In a bid to calm the attack dogs in the media amid those difficult years in Number 10 Mr Major once rang Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie to politely ask him to give the government a break.
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The editor replied: "I have a bucket of s**t on my desk and tomorrow morning I am going to pour it over your head."
There are plenty of editors planning to do exactly that to Mr Hancock.
Back when he was a new MP I interviewed Mr Hancock and he was both charming and intelligent. It was certainly clear that he was destined to be more than just a constituency MP.
Since then a few things have rather gone awry.
Bluntly, the death knell for Mr Hancock's career in high office was tolling some time ago.
In Westminster cycles the West Suffolk MP is has little respect. The ambitious in the Tory ranks are already jostling for who will take his job.
One Conservative source summed up the feelings of many: "It is just one thing after another with Hancock.
"The health secretary needs to be a safe pair of hands. The party - and the country - need to be able to trust him and yet I believe that trust is completely gone.
"Of course Boris can't sack him for this. That would be irony indeed. But he is done. There is no recovery for him. To think he thought he could be prime minister ...
"The papers will not let this go. The public are smirking at him but are also asking some serious questions about the character of this chap. And understandably."
If the pressure continues to ramp up Mr Hancock may decide that the best thing to do is fall on his sword. Otherwise expect him to limp on for a few more weeks and be reshuffled out of the cabinet before too long.