Today is the biggest day of Boris Johnson’s leadership to date.
It has been an eventful time in office for the former London mayor. His ‘oven-ready’ Brexit deal turned out to be still frozen. Negotiations with the EU have so far failed. His handling of the pandemic was overshadowed by parties at Downing Street, while others suffered under government restrictions.
He weathered the fall-out from his parting of ways with sidekick Dominic Cummings, the ‘Malcolm Tucker’ spin doctor of the Conservative Party who helped navigate his journey to Number 10.
He could have survived any one of those incidents in isolation, but a collection of all and more has brought him to his current predicament, with chair of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, opening a confidence ballot on Monday evening.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend should have been a time to rally the nation, to pull people together in the spirit of unity.
And while the British people did rally in huge numbers to honour the Queen, Mr Johnson was greeted with loud booing while arriving and leaving St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Friday for the thanksgiving service.
The Prime Minister is used to being booed and heckled, but mainly when he leaves London and heads north. His frosty receptions on his rare visits to Scotland are well documented, but the kind of people who queue in London streets for hours, with Union flag in hand for royal events, are traditionally the Conservative faithful.
The image of a solemn monarch, sitting alone at her husband’s funeral in line with restrictions, while Sue Gray’s report found there was a party in Downing Street during that period of national mourning, is a hard one to shake off. It is difficult to see where Mr Johnson goes from here.
Even if he manages to win the vote - and there are suggestions he will - long-term survival is now statistically unlikely.
Theresa May won a confidence vote in December 2018 but was gone within eight months. Margaret Thatcher won a leadership challenge in 1989, but was ousted a year later.
Politics lecturer and political commentator Dr David McCann pointed out that a Tory PM has not served a full five-year term since David Cameron.
So, what does all this mean for Northern Ireland? To survive any confidence vote and fend off a leadership challenge, Mr Johnson must stay below 180 votes of no confidence.
We can be sure that 54 or more MPs have already signed letters of no confidence, as that’s how many were needed to trigger the ballot.
Realistically, anything over 100 votes and he is fatally wounded, less than 90 and expect him to remain in post for at least another year.
To secure low numbers, horse trading is needed. You can be sure supporters of the Prime Minister are lobbying hard to keep the votes against his leadership in double figures and that means making promises and pledges.
The ERG has over 90 members, making them the most powerful lobby group. They have been pushing for legislation on the protocol that was intended to be put before Parliament sometime this week.
ERG sources say that the bill fell short of what they wanted and would simply have provided ministers with powers to override the protocol at an unspecified future date. The DUP has said this is not enough to get them back to power-sharing and the ERG is indicating this isn’t enough to secure support for the prime minister.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been privately telling MPs she is confident of majority support for the more confrontational version of the bill, especially given the need for the PM to keep the hard-line on board for his own survival.
Backbench MPs have privately made clear to Downing Street that they will rally behind the prime minister, but only if the protocol legislation is sufficiently robust.
And then there are those backbenchers pushing for an amnesty for veterans. The Legacy Bill is something they want fast-tracked through the Commons on accelerated passage despite local opposition to the legislation in Northern Ireland.
So, while Johnson’s future may on the face of it seem a very Westminster-based crisis, what happens will have a trickle-down effect on Northern Ireland.
If his survival relies on a harder stance on the protocol, then that’s what we can expect when the bill is delivered to the Commons this week.
If he doesn’t manage to get enough support, then the attention turns to who will replace him, and what impact that will have on decision-making linked to the protocol, the fallout from which has a direct impact on every man, woman and child in Northern Ireland.
To date, Johnson has appeared like a cat with nine lives – by Monday evening we’ll know if he has used the last of those up.