It may surprise you to know that Members of Parliament have not been allowed to resign since 1624.

Instead, any such MP is appointed to one of two 'paid offices of the Crown' which then disqualifies them from sitting in Parliament.

Herts Advertiser: St Albans MP Daisy CooperSt Albans MP Daisy Cooper (Image: Courtesy of Daisy Cooper)

This bizarre practice was the sort of thing we learned this week as Boris Johnson and others stormed out of elected office in the latest bout of melodrama and infighting in the Conservative Party.

That oddity is why, for a short time, Boris Johnson became Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds.

In a Commons corridor, there was a brief moment of panic for MPs representing Chilterns constituencies, who weren’t familiar with the arcane rules.

Relief spread shortly afterwards, as they realised the appointment was entirely temporary and Johnson wouldn’t have to take up residence in the area.

Johnson had seen a copy of the report into whether he had misled Parliament over lockdown parties in Downing Street and he decided to quit rather than face his constituents.

For those who had seen any of the evidence, there were few surprises. Johnson had lied and had done so deliberately and repeatedly.

Other resigning MPs had their own reasons. The MP for Mid-Bedfordshire and former Culture Secretary had reportedly been edited out of Johnson’s resignation ‘honours’ list but she didn’t know by whom.

She said she was going to resign and force a by-election, mounting pressure on Rishi Sunak, who is performing poorly at the ballot box. But then she didn’t follow through – instead vowing to find out who had dropped her from the list.

Was it a huff, a negotiating gambit, or some coordinated plot? At the time of writing, we still don’t know.

Another Johnsonite, Nigel Adams, resigned in apparent solidarity. And later in the week the MP for Somerton and Frome resigned after months of investigation into his alleged misconduct.

Beyond the spectacle of damaged egos and archaic rules, at the end of the week we were reminded once more of what this has all been about.

Families who lost their loved ones, alone and afraid during the pandemic restrictions, had another slap in the face. Previously unseen video evidence of parties at Conservative party headquarters emerged.

Disgracefully, some of those flouting the rules - whilst the rest of us made enormous personal sacrifices - had been given ‘gongs’ by Johnson in that honours list.

What a fitting but terrible way to end the whole sorry saga.