Here's the latest Politics File by the Argus' Ian Craig:

BY THIS time next week we'll know who our new prime minister is.

And - though Jeremy Hunt's put in about as good a showing as could be expected - it still looks like it's Boris Johnson's to lose.

Whatever you think of him, it's remarkable that he's got to this point despite a long history of very public mishaps, from the amusing but harmless - getting stuck on a zip wire while celebrating the London Olympics - to the genuinely dangerous - endangering the campaign to get Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe out of prison by making ill-advised comments in Parliament.


In the past few weeks alone we've had that very public argument with his partner, and being directly responsible for UK ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch quitting after he refused to back him for criticising President Trump.

Any one of these - aside from the zipwire, I suppose - would have derailed any other politician's hopes of leadership, so the fact that Johnson has breezed past it all largely unscathed says a lot about the state of politics in 2019.

Yes, he's good for a chuckle from time to time, but forgive me if sense of humour isn't terribly high on the list of qualities I'd like to see in the leader of our country.

Lest you think I'm just having a go at Boris Johnson, this goes far beyond him.

Labour is embroiled in widespread allegations of the anti-Semitism, yet Jeremy Corbyn has failed to take responsibility or even address it fully. In saner times the leader of any party engulfed in such turmoil failing to take action like this would have been out of the door.

Yet, while there's plenty within Labour who would like to see that happen, his supporters - don't call it a cult - remain convinced he's the second coming.

Dare to criticise Corbyn on Twitter and you'll be immediately met with a flood of abuse - all from accounts which are, of course, definitely real people and absolutely not run from a warehouse in Russia.

And, of course, the same thing has been happening over the pond - apparently we live in a world now where you can boast about grabbing women by their privates and still get elected as the president of the USA.

So it seems across the board it's personalities which win votes now rather than the nitty-gritty of actual policies - and this has dangerous implications.

Yes, we need strong personalities in politics. There's a reason Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, John F Kennedy and so on are remembered as the forceful politicians they were - regardless of what you think of their policies.

And it's pretty clear the more ineffectual leaders of our times - I'm looking at you, Theresa May and Gordon Brown - are generally not people who got where they did through strength of personality.


But the issue is the cult of personality around them is blinding people to their faults.

Yes, you may agree with everything Boris Johnson says - but surely his history of mishaps, shady personal life and outright refusal to answer simple questions would make you think twice about whether he's the right man to lead the country?

Yes, you may think the sun shines out of Jeremy Corbyn's nethers - but surely any strong leader would at the very least answer questions over claims of anti-Semitism?

Yes, you may think Donald Trump's background outside politics is just what America needs - but does that give him license to say and do whatever he wants?

One wonders what exactly any of them would have to do to turn their supporters against them. It almost seems like any one could burn down an orphanage and be praised for their approach to urban renewal.

And this is dangerous - our politicians need to be open to criticism, and to take that criticism on board. If any criticism is shouted down by an army of internet trolls, how exactly do we hold them to account?

Assuming Boris Johnson is prime minister by the end of next week, his fanbase need to recognise he needs to be open to scrutiny and criticism - and to respond to it. So far they've shown little willingness to do so.

Likewise, if Jeremy Corbyn does find his way into Number 10, his cult - sorry, devotees - need to be open to the fact that he's going to be scrutinised and criticised.

Otherwise, we'll end up in the same situation as our friends over the Atlantic, with a leader backed up by an army of internet trolls who is barely accountable to the people.

Unfortunately for Jeremy Hunt - a man certainly not without his flaws - the support for his competitor means he's doomed to being an also-ran, robbing us of the opportunity to rebrand Prime Minister's Questions as 'Jeremy v Jeremy'.

Maybe next time.