Leading Article: DUP's disastrous links with Boris Johnson

There has been a briefing war over Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list (Andrew Boyers/PA)
There has been a briefing war over Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list (Andrew Boyers/PA) There has been a briefing war over Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list (Andrew Boyers/PA)

When they look at the latest calamity involving Boris Johnson, who has finally resigned as a Conservative MP, senior DUP figures can only shudder at their decision to repeatedly place their full trust in him.

The reality that Mr Johnson will ultimately go down, closely followed by his close associate Liz Truss, as the most discredited British prime minister in living memory should not have come as a surprise to anyone who examined his career in any detail.

However, the DUP was prepared not just to endorse but to actively promote Mr Johnson's role in the Brexit debacle which he shamelessly used as a stepping stone to power without displaying any concern for the economic disasters which were bound to swiftly unfold.

DUP strategists then astonishingly believed Mr Johnson when he offered assurances with a straight face that an Irish Sea border would not be an inevitable consequence of his subsequent EU withdrawal agreement before swiftly humiliating them.

Prominent DUP members initially gave their firm backing to the sensible EU protocol arrangements, and correctly identified the major benefits which lay ahead, before performing a spectacular U-turn, caving into pressure from fringe elements and disgracefully bringing down our Stormont power sharing structures.

None of this will worry Mr Johnson in the slightest as he departs from the House of Commons in ignominy while still citing bizarre conspiracies and blaming everyone but himself for his downfall.

Read More: Dangerous liaison with BoJo ended with DUP thrown under the bus

His statement on Friday was a classic of its kind, asserting that he had been driven out by a `kangaroo court' despite overwhelming evidence that he had misled the British parliament over his well documented lockdown breaking parties at Downing Street during the height of the covid crisis.

He aimed a series of slaps at his successor and one-time friend Rishi Sunak, and even managed to claim that a proposed free trade deal with the US had been `passively abandoned' by Whitehall even though President Biden had made it abundantly clear that it was a non-runner for a range of reasons.

Mr Johnson left with poor grace, even including an egotistical claim that his exit was `at least for now', but it can only be hoped that it all marks the end of a hugely disreputable chapter in UK politics.

The last irony would be if Mr Johnson, having insisted that he shared the ideals of the DUP, emerges as the British prime minister who created the circumstances ultimately facilitating the demise of the union.