Essentially, David Cameron is facing the prospect of a very rough ride when he faces his MPs on Wednesday. They now know that the Emperor has no clothes so they have a much freer rein to question and criticise him:
However Mr Cameron decides to proceed, he must first placate his MPs. As one of them said: "Suddenly it's okay for us to say to him, 'What the hell are you talking about?'" The Tory leader needs to provide a convincing answer.
Also, for those LibDems who haven't already overdosed on schadenfreude, there is a classic Gordon Brown comment about Grant Shapps, who has incidentally been unceremoniously dumped from his role of running Tory by-election campaigns:
Veteran Conservatives, however, say the real question is why Mr Cameron put the inexperienced Mr Shapps in charge of the battle in the first place.
It was a decision that delighted Labour. Watching television coverage of the by-election on Friday morning at No 10, Gordon Brown saw the youthful Mr Shapps, an MP of only three years, talking about the defeat, and said: "If I'd known he was running it, I wouldn't have worried.