Is this the end for Boris Johnson - politically at least? That was the question many were asking after his contrition-free performance at the Privileges Committee on Wednesday afternoon.
It would be foolish to ever write off the 'bouncebackability' of the former prime minister, given his track record of gaffes and comebacks. He has always acted like the normal rules didn’t apply to him, and it usually transpired that he was right about that.
But there is a real sense that patience with Johnson’s shtick, even among Tories, is wearing thin. It was telling that only one MP, Brendan Clarke-Smith, turned up in the central lobby to defend him on Wednesday, despite his team having briefed the media that supportive colleagues would be out in force.
That Johnson support group seems to have dwindled from dozens of backbenchers to a membership of Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg, his two most faithful lapdogs.
Johnson loves nothing more than playing games, and in his resignation speech last summer he compared himself to the Roman statesman Cincinnatus, who returned from his retirement as a farmer to lead the Republic (as a dictator, it should be added).
However, the past month has seen Rishi Sunak’s stock rise as Johnson’s has plunged to levels lower than Credit Suisse, and as such he's been uncharacteristically quiet.
As NationalWorld’s Imogen Howse writes in her analysis on his political future, the effects of the Partygate inquiry could extinguish any lingering support Johnson still maintains, as we’re all reminded how the Downing Street operation he oversaw flouted the very rules they imposed on the rest of us.
The speculation now is that Johnson is readying himself for a sanction of a ten-day suspension from the Commons, which could trigger a by-election in his seat of Uxbridge & Ruislip - a contest he could certainly lose.
Should he find himself cast out from Westminster, Johnson can at least fall back on his burgeoning extracurricular interests - he’s registered £6 million in earnings, gifts and donations since last September. Which is roughly 120 times what he made as an MP during the same time.
Sturgeon leaves a big challenge for her successor
As Johnson’s star fades in Westminster, Nicola Sturgeon has also exited stage left in Holyrood. Politicians from across the aisle paid tribute to her during her final sessions of First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, which is normally a combative affair.
It was notable that while praise was heaped upon Sturgeon as a politician - and she is undoubtedly one of the best of her generation - there was little positive that could be said for her legacy in government.
Aimee Stanton and Claire Wilde in our data team have crunched the numbers on Sturgeon’s eight years in power, to assess how her government has performed on some of Scotland’s biggest challenges, from drug deaths to child poverty.
Never mind independence, the biggest challenge for whoever replaces Sturgeon will be holding the warring factions of the SNP together. I watched the three candidates in their final hustings this week, and judging by their demeanours, it has been a long and bruising contest. The bookies have Humza Yousaf edging it over Kate Forbes ahead of Monday's result, but it’s still an impossible one to call.
The rising cost of living
Away from pure politics, the other big story of the week was the economy and cost of living crisis. A surprise jump in inflation to 10.4% on Wednesday led to a small increase in the interest rate to 4.25% the following day. This, of course, will have an impact on borrowers and savers, but we also had the announcement on council tax rises in England - which is just one of a number of things which are about to get more expensive as we begin a new financial year.
While we got a hint of Rishi Sunak’s true wealth (his tax returns revealed that he’d paid £432,000 to HMRC last year), we know that life is getting tougher for the majority. That’s why we’re developing our Money section under new Money Editor Henry Sandercock, with more expert advice, helpful explainers and consumer tips.
🎧 If you're looking for inspiration on what to binge and what to bin, check out this week's episode of our Screen Babble podcast, which also includes an interview with Outlander star Sam Heughan and a look ahead to the final season of Succession - and don't forget our Weekend Watch mini-episode.
📧 You can write to me with feedback on this or any of our stories at [email protected]d.com or find me on Twitter @nickmitchell.
Have an enjoyable weekend - and remember to change your clocks.