Boris Johnson was once asked to name his favourite cinematic moment, and coolly replied: “The multiple retribution killings at the end of The Godfather”.
Last summer the newly appointed PM performed the political equivalent of that scene, by ending the careers of 17 rival ministers. While this afternoon’s sackings are in no way on that scale, they are just as calculating and brutal.
The summary dismissal of well liked and successful ministers for minor transgressions sent out a strong message in Westminster — it is Number 10’s way or the high way.
Take Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith.