This was supposed to be reset week.
But after five days of policy and positive news on COVID vaccines, a familiar cloud of controversy and criticism has descended on Downing Street.
It’s resulted in the prime minister’s adviser on ministerial standards walking out after Boris Johnson publicly disagreed with his conclusions.
Sir Alex Allan – a widely respected civil servant with decades of experience – had found that the home secretary had broken the rules.
The prime minister thought otherwise, reaching the conclusion that there were mitigating factors such as Priti Patel’s lack of awareness about the impact her behaviour was having.
Coming weeks after the resignation of a chief legal officer over concerns that ministers planned to break international law concerning Brexit, this is another dent in the side of the received Westminster wisdom of how governments operate.
Then there’s the question of what example this sets.
Civil servants working across Whitehall may worry the decision gives unruly bosses cover to act outside of the rules.
But Conservative MPs are rallying round the home secretary – a popular figure on the backbenchers with strong Brexit credentials.
Loyalty and “political stock” once again proving to be the ultimate currency in Mr Johnson’s administration.
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