The Conservative Party's shadow arts minister and vice-chairman, Boris Johnson, has been sacked over claims he had an affair.
Last week Mr Johnson, who is also editor of the Spectator, dismissed reports in a Sunday newspaper that he had an affair with his columnist Petronella Wyatt but after fresh allegations the Tories have sacked him for lying.
The MP, who is married with four children, is quoted as saying he regrets the decision to remove him from his frontbench post.
Were the Conservatives right to sack Boris Johnson? Do politicians' private lives have an impact on their ability to do the job?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
Boris is a successful man who enjoys and is at home with himself, an asset icon in any organisation. The total opposite to Howard who is a sanctimonious 'I am perfect' Tory stuffed shirt.
Bob Jones, Suffolk
I find it very sad to read about the casual acceptance of marital infidelity by so many on this page. The details of whether he lied to Michael Howard or not don't matter, he lived a lie for four years and lied to his wife and young children. Shame on him. I don't want someone like that running the country.
Jon Cooper, UK
The problem with politicians is that they are used to dissembling. Why not just say, 'I don't think you wish to hear about my sex life and I don't want to talk about it'? Boris Johnson made the mistake of denying an affair he should have refused to discuss.
Jacqueline, London UK
Unfortunately Boris's celebrity status was been built around the public's perception of him being yet another public school educated Tory MP who is out of touch with the opinions of millions of ordinary people. It is this perception that the Tories need to lose if they are ever going to be treated seriously again by the British electorate.
Rod Ellis, Redhill, Surrey, UK
If Howard read Private Eye he would have known about this months ago! Big shame they have dumped the only interesting frontbencher they had. It is amazing how each new Tory leader makes their predecessor look quite good. Bring back John Major!
Tim Reynolds, Brussels, Belgium
Personally, I never liked Boris Johnson, but to betray your wife and family, who are supposed to be your most treasured people, whilst expecting the rest of the country to trust you... well, that seems to be the hypocrisy here. It's perfectly clear he's just being made an example of, but nonetheless it's the one thing I support the Tories in.
Angharad Beurle-Williams, Abingdon, Oxon
Blair would not have sacked Boris were he on his frontbench and the Tories would never have demanded that he should do so for fear of appearing ridiculous. Which rather casts Howard as the lesser man, in charge of a party which in consequence does look ridiculous.
Donald Crawford, Bellapais, Northern Cyprus
Let's face it, Boris Johnson is pompous. Yes he is amusing and many of the political points he makes are valid but he makes them in such a ridiculous manner that he does more harm than good. The Tories will never get elected with people like this - give him the full time job of presenting Have I Got News for You that's where he is better suited.
Piers Catton, Blandford Forum UK
What Mr Howard is saying is that it's OK for Boris to lie to his wife, but not to the Tory party.
He should not have been sacked, but what else did he expect from the nasty party?
Gary Gatter, London, UK
No wonder Toryism is in such a mess, if people continually talk about this comedy toff as if he's some great hope for the future.
I am amazed that in a week where thousands are killed in Iraq, the media is preoccupied with just one more politician caught with his trousers down. What a odd society we live in!
D Stone, Staffs
I can understand why this would matter to his wife and children, but I don't understand how it has any relevance to the rest of us.
A complete over-reaction on Michael Howard's part, it really is not his business to ask Boris about it and expect a straight answer about something that is nothing to do with him. In the 80s we lost a high profile politicians in a similar event - that was a great loss to the Conservatives at that time, and losing Boris Johnson at this time will be disastrous for Howard. I look forward for the next leadership election which Boris should stand for - and win. Howard is, in my view a vote loser, Boris on the other hand is popular, maybe that's the real point - Howard wanting to get rid of a much younger and more popular figure that he sees as a threat.
Mark Robbins, Birmingham , UK
The whole point of this is being missed by most of these comments. Boris was not sacked because he had an affair. He was sacked because he lied. Other MPs occupying higher office should take note.
Peter, Exeter, UK
He should also be denied his as a Member of Parliament. These people are supposed to be an example of honesty and character to the public at large but they despicably show a lack of morality and ethics and he is not the only one. Conduct on the part of some members of the parliament has been absolutely disgraceful. By them being allowed to occupy public office, will simply justify a lack of morality and ethics.
Ashok Mahajan, London
Big Mistake Michael Howard. Doesn't he realise Boris is the only entertaining/interesting MP the Tories have?
I'm amazed. We finally have a political party that believes in sticking to moral principles (like not lying to your boss), and people attack them for it! Surely we should be embracing a political party, who despite their rocky past, have decided to take a stand. If we continually encourage deceit, dishonesty and disloyalty, what chance do our kids have?
James Murphy, Dorset, UK
Being a bad husband does not necessarily make someone a bad politician. Look at Bill Clinton... he had a suspect private life but is arguably one of the best leaders the world has seen over recent decades. Maybe Mr Howard ought to have thought about that before sacking Mr Johnson. It is a sore loss for the Tory party.
David, Paris, France
Poor Boris... Perhaps Howard is jealous of Johnson's popularity. What he gets up to in his private life has nothing to do with his political career.
I actually despise most of what the Tories stand for but I found Boris Johnson to be a likeable and rather oddly, I found him to be more 'in touch' despite his ultra "toffness". Does that mean he is allowed to lie to his boss about his affairs? No. But the point is that Howard should not be quizzing Boris about his personal private life. If all politicians were given a thorough integrity and honesty test we would have none left. In any case, this is another fine example of Mr Howard's sense of judgement and yet another Tory decision that will contribute to an unprecedented third Labour term. Well done Mr Howard.
Jonathan Chibafa, Mortlake, London
It is a disgrace, his private life is his business, this is yet another example of lily livered politicians bowing to what they believe will be tabloid pressure, well Mr Howard you have lost my lifelong Tory vote. I hope that Boris will stand against Howard for the leadership after he has lost the next election, at least we would have a real person who speaks his mind and the truth about the things that really matter.
The only person who has any reason to sack Boris Johnson is his wife.
Carol Gibson, Edinburgh, UK
Politicians must learn to say "I refuse to discuss my sex life in public, mind your own business". So many political careers would have been saved.
People keep saying that a politician's private life has nothing to do with their political life yet at every election the wives are paraded out and all politicians are family people. Until we stop this charade we will continue to have non-stories like this one.
Howard has shot himself in the foot. Boris was a spot of colour in an otherwise grey party. The affair was and should still be a private matter.
Yes, sad though I am, he betrayed his wife and lied about it, condoning that would be like saying it was OK for Tony Blair to lie and take us to war.
Boris's private life is none of the Conservatives' business. The party is diminished by this decision which shows that it is still "nasty" and will be forever grey and unelectable.
Richard Mullens, UK
If honesty and integrity is the reason for sacking BJ, then Michael Howard should be the first to go. British voters couldn't care less what politicians do in their private lives. They are supposed to be ordinary people representing us, not elitist puritans governing us.
SG Auld, Glasgow, UK
No they weren't. I'm somebody who wishes the Conservatives would get their act together and become a party of potential government. They need to be able to separate the important from the urgent, this was neither. Private lives and peoples jobs are separate. I doubt there would be any journalists left in employment if we knew what they get up to. Politics needs Boris Johnson!
Hamish Brydone, Edinburgh, UK
I am pleased Mr Howard is being consistent with his integrity policy. If politicians are not straight with their bosses how can they be expected to be straight with the public? Well done to Mr Howard for sticking to his guns.
Jon Harrison, Hartington, Derbyshire, England
Just when it looked as if the Tories had learned the lessons of those years of "sleaze" we have the "Bonking Boris" saga. Yes Boris, you can have whatever private life you want. But, no Boris, you have to be honest about it with your political masters because you were a representative of that political party.
Tony Bryant, Oxford UK
The question of whether Boris Johnson should have been sacked is specifically down to whether he lied or not in his response to the allegations of having an affair. If he has lied, he deserves to go, it is as simple as that. Yet one hopes that Michael Howard is extremely sure that the newspaper allegations were founded. If so, is Howard in possession of facts that conclusively prove Johnson's guilt? In addition, since when does a senior politician trust the accuracy of sensational tabloid reporting?
If he has lied, he deserves to go, it is as simple as that.
The Conservative party is depriving itself of one of its most recognizable politicians, and possibly of one of its best assets in the next election campaign. And for what? So Boris Johnson had an affair. So he wasn't keen on having everyone finding out about it. Well, who would, in a similar situation? Grow up! Of course he'll try to keep it under wraps. This doesn't in any way reflect on Boris Johnson's competence or integrity. It does, however, reflect on the bigotry of a party that is less than ever in touch with the world in which it lives.
Simon, Amsterdam, Netherlands
What a load of rubbish the Conservative Party spokesperson is talking! To distinguish between "personal morality" and "personal integrity" either means nothing at all, or it means that having an affair is OK as long as you are up front about it. Is this back to front basics?
Jim Gourlay, Sheffield, England
If the issue is one of deception, there are many in the conservative party who have committed equal misrepresentations of which Michael Howard is fully aware and keeps mum on. There would not be many left in the party, were Howard to apply a consistent ruling across the board. Mr Howard appears to be happy for his MPs to lie and to deceive the press as long as they tell him the truth. Mr Howard's problem is clearly a personal one with Boris Johnson. Boris on this occasion has flown too close to the sun.
Peter Gregory, Skipton
The population of the Henley Constituency are effectively the employers of Boris Johnson as their MP. He promised to live in the constituency before his election, but clearly does not. He continues to moonlight as the Editor of the Spectator, whilst claiming a generous salary and huge expenses as our MP. He has recently been exposed as having poor judgement in the case of his magazine's article on Liverpool and lying about his personal life. Enough is enough! Most constituents would now gladly sack Mr Johnson. Let him save his reputation by resigning immediately.
David Winchester, Henley-on-Thames, UK
The Tories will never win an election if they expect front-benchers to be honest. Just look at Blair. He's a highly successful politician and lies all the time!
Robert Gallen, Henley-on-Thames
I cannot understand the hype in this country about private affairs of politicians! They, as all of us, should be held accountable for the outcome of their work, not what they do in private life! Hypocrites!
Good riddance, though why the Conservatives kept hold of someone who damaged them more in terms of public relations over Bigley and Hillsborough and is yet sacked for a private affair will forever puzzle me. If the Conservatives want to win the next election then they must respect public feelings or they will lose. It's as simple as that.
Daniel Tormey, Sabden, England
This move shows just how incompetent the Conservative leadership is. Boris Johnson is the only popular MP in their party, yet they push him to the side. What he does in his personal time is irrelevant.
Kimi, Edinburgh, Scotland
Personally I don't care what a politician does in their private life as long as they aren't spending my money to do it. And as for lying, he's married! I doubt most people are open about their affairs. I don't expect politicians to be my role models.
Tristan Walker-Buckton, Reigate, Surrey
Until recently, the Conservative party could count among their ranks the only politician that I could actually say I liked. Now he's gone, sacked over some irrelevant and alleged affair. Johnson's charisma, sense of humour and warm personality are proven by his huge popularity on the after dinner speech circuit, and this very ability to communicate with, and entertain people is exactly what the dull, grey Tory party need right now. This sacking was a mistake.
Dan, Yateley, UK
I may not agree with his views, but in an age of dull career politicians who toe the party line like sheep, his character will be missed. In any case, I thought the ability to lie was a pre-requisite of becoming an MP.
John C, Bath
Boris is a fine MP with real personality and intelligence. He did make a very stupid mistake with his article in the Spectator. However he is overall an asset to the Conservative Party. Nevertheless, the Tories have got to take a strong stand on any suggestion of sleaze and Mr Howard would have had no choice but to sack Boris. But this is not the last we have heard of the Henley MP, he will be back on the front benches within the next couple of years, I have no doubt.
Matt Harrison, Plymouth Devon
Michael Howard is clearly scared. Ask most youngsters who they think the coolest member of the Tory party is and 90% of them will say Boris Johnson. I guess I can still dream that Boris will one day lead the Conservatives to victory!
Nick Radford, Oxford, UK