The National:

THE MPs supporting Boris Johnson brought this on themselves. They really should have seen it coming.

When Johnson said he had never heard of allegations of sexual misconduct before handing Chris Pincher a whip’s role, he was telling fibs.

When he claimed his Brexit deal was “oven ready”, he was just sloganeering.

When he told Parliament that no Covid rules were broken in Whitehall under his watch, he was telling more than 100 lies at once.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak looks set to be prime minister as he wins key Brexiteers' backing

So when he came out and claimed he had 100 MPs backing him and he could run for prime minister if he wanted to, who believed him?

Well, some Tory MPs apparently did. And putting their trust in Johnson has left them all publicly humiliated a bit sooner than they might have expected.

James Duddridge, the Johnson loyalist to end all loyalists, wrote on Twitter after his boss announced he was dropping out: “Well that was unexpected. Off to bed!”

Obviously it wasn’t unexpected – but poor Duddridge doesn’t even seem to have been told about Johnson’s plans to drop out.

And embarrassingly for a man who imagines himself a big-hitter, Nadhim Zahawi doesn’t appear to have been told either.

The “former chancellor” – he held the post for two days before calling for Johnson to quit on Treasury-headed paper – had come out in support of his former boss.

He claimed “Boris 2.0” would be better in a couple of tweets, before fleshing it out into a full-length article for The Telegraph.

The National:

However, two literal minutes after that article was published (at 9pm), Johnson pulled out of the race (at 9.02pm). Poor Zahawi was no doubt on the blower to the Telegraph begging them to take down his article – something they obligingly did.

Unperturbed, the ambitious Tory MP pivoted at breakneck speed to support Rishi Sunak instead.

He wrote: “A day is a long time in politics… Given today's news, it's clear that we should turn to @RishiSunak to become our next Prime Minister. Rishi is immensely talented, will command a strong majority in the parliamentary Conservative Party, and will have my full support and loyalty.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Zahawi’s rapid change of heart was “just embarrassing”.

“Or to put another way here are my principles, if you don’t like them I can give you some more,” he added.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, who had already embarrassed himself by claiming “Boris is a winner” and sharing a poll of him trailing behind Labour's Keir Starmer, was further left out in the cold by Johnson’s exit.

Rees-Mogg had previously shared a graphic claiming the UK’s choice was “Boris or bust”. It looks like it will be bust then, at least for Rees-Mogg’s ministerial career.

Brendan Clarke-Smith, another vocal and smug Johnson-backer, has gone silent on social media since an ill-advised “I told you so” he tweeted on Sunday afternoon to the news that Johnson’s team was once again claiming to have 100 MPs on side.

Attack dog Nadine Dorries was left raging at a "Banana Republic" in the UK and just about calling for a General Election again. 

James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary, has also put his tail between his legs and rounded to back Sunak – after coming out in support of Johnson on Sunday.

Embarrassing all round.

And they know it. One anonymous staffer working for an MP who had backed Johnson told Politico: “If I f***ing see him, he better hope he’s got a quick flight back to the Dominican Republic. What a complete and utter f***ing s*** to march people up like this and say to people ‘oh yeah, it’s definitely happening."

Perhaps this shower should have cast their minds back to July, when Johnson was forced out of office in ignominy, instead of forward to those big ministerial offices they no doubt had their eyes on.