Not for the first time in his life, Boris Johnson faces a showdown with the truth.
His hopes of a political comeback are in jeopardy, just as he was threatening a Brexit rebellion against Rishi Sunak.
WhatsApp messages from Johnson’s own Downing Street advisers show that even they didn’t believe his story on illegal lockdown parties. After one newspaper report, his director of comms at No 10 told colleagues that it “blows another great gaping hole in the PM’s account”.
The messages have been released by the inquiry into whether Johnson misled Parliament, which is gathering pace. He must give evidence about his conduct in a fortnight and can be expected to come out fighting.
Why does any of this matter now? After all, most of the public have already made up their minds and believe Johnson lied, opinion polling suggests.
These latest developments are politically significant. If he is found to have misled Parliament intentionally, Johnson faces suspension from the House of Commons. He is notoriously difficult to shame and would try to shrug off any such sanction as politically motivated. He has often defied predictions of his demise.
But it will not help his standing among Conservative MPs, who have already jettisoned him once.
So while these messages confirm what we already knew – that Johnson is untruthful, and distrusted by some of those who know him best – they could yet prove very damaging to his political ambitions.