LEADING a government is a bit like piloting a plane. There is a constant need to keep the nose of the aircraft up to keep it flying. As soon as the nose dips you have a struggle to keep the aircraft in the air.

This week has been a prime example of a Prime Minister in London not just failing to keep the plane in the air but seemingly sending it into a nosedive because of his own actions.

By the time this article is published I will have no idea whether Boris Johnson is still the Prime Minister or whether he has begun the process of leaving the job. In the absence of a crystal ball I thought I would try to chart the beginnings of his nosedive and his seeming failure to keep his government on a steady course.

His problems really began with the debacle over the Owen Paterson affair.

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In the normal course of events, where a Member of Parliament is the subject of a proposed sanction through the standards procedure then they simply accept that section and move on.

Not so with Owen Paterson.

A rearguard action was begun to prevent him from being subject to the normal standards of any other MP, a move that was supported by the Prime Minister.

The National Wales: Top gun Boris Johnson give the double thumbs up during a visit to RAF Valley Picture: Carl Recine PA WireTop gun Boris Johnson give the double thumbs up during a visit to RAF Valley Picture: Carl Recine PA Wire

Boris Johnson should have stayed well out of it. On top of that, there were briefings from the government that the Standards Commissioner should resign.

It was a blatant attempt by a Prime Minister to ensure that standards and their enforcement only applied to other MPs but not his mates. The voters of North Shropshire gave their view on that.

Then of course we've seen the issue of party-gate.

Let's be clear; this is not solely about whether the Prime Minister broke the rules that he himself had put in place or that his staff seemingly held social events in Downing Street on a number of occasions despite this being forbidden to everybody else in England.

There have been attempts by his friends to “keep things in perspective”; to say that attending a social event in contravention of the regulations is a minor matter that can be dealt with via an apology.

It is about more than that. It's a question as to whether the Prime Minister has been honest or whether he has misled the UK parliament in the answers that he has given.

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It has always been the case that any minister who is found not to have told the truth in Parliament must resign. That is as true for Boris Johnson as it is for anybody else. It is simply not good enough for him to carry on if that is shown to be the case.

All this is making the UK look like a laughing stock in the eyes of the world. Not because the issue of lockdown parties has arisen but because the impression is given that the UK government believes that its own rules do not apply to itself and that the leader of the government is above the law and above giving a straight answer.

Instead of being a leading player in Europe the UK is now dismissed as a bit of a joke.

The situation is made even more serious by the current security crisis in Europe.

READ MORE: Has Britain changed its prime minister during a crisis?

The Prime Minister has tried to position himself as the leader of the European response to Russian aggression. His problem is that no other leader in Europe takes that claim seriously.

The UK cannot position itself as a leader in European affairs if its own Prime Minister is so badly thought of.

The National Wales: Russian president Vladimir Putin is posing a problem for European leaders as is Boris Johnson, says Carwyn JonesRussian president Vladimir Putin is posing a problem for European leaders as is Boris Johnson, says Carwyn Jones

While Boris Johnson remains Prime Minister that will always be a problem.

He has lost any authority and gravitas that he had, although it would not be unkind to suggest that he was lacking in the latter quality to begin with.

The UK government is in a mess and he is the reason for it. He must take steps to ensure that the UK is respected again and that the UK government has standards beneath which it cannot go. I don't believe that either of these things will happen while he remains Prime Minister.

Inevitably there will be those who take the view that my views on this are entirely down to my politics. It isn't.

Nothing would be better for the Labour Party than for Boris Johnson to carry on as Prime Minister, carrying with him all this baggage.

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Having a new leader for the Conservative Party gives them the opportunity to claim a fresh start and put forward a fresh agenda. That is actually more difficult politically if Boris Johnson remains in place.

This is to do with the way in which government operates behaves and the trust that people have in the way it operates.

While Boris Johnson wrestles with the controls of a diving plane everything else is on hold.

We face  a severe cost of living crisis from April but we have a Prime Minister incapable of doing anything about it.

We have a serious security issue in Europe with a premier who is not taken seriously by anybody. That cannot be in the interests of the UK regardless of your politics.

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