The rumour goes like this.

Years ago, when Boris Johnson was asked why he wanted to go into politics, he is said to have replied "because they don’t put up statues of journalists".

I doubt Johnson cares whether any future statue of him is erected in celebration of his public service or as a warning against the dangers of personality politics. From all we know of him he seems more interested in being part of history and less so on the reasons he finds himself there.

Documents compiled by the Cabinet Office under the codename "Operation Yellowhammer" were leaked to the press at the weekend. They set out the ramifications of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal on the 31st of October.

Detailing the impact on various sectors, they warn of shortages of food, medicine and fuel, as well as a hard border with Ireland – with the protests and possibility of "direct action" that could follow.

The documents say that UK businesses and the public are underprepared for a no-deal exit from the EU. They are the most comprehensive assessment yet of what those initial days and weeks would look like under the increasingly likely scenario.

The Government was keen to downplay the warnings contained in the documents with one cabinet minister saying they were written under Theresa May’s government and "it was a worst-case scenario and it is wrong to think the government believes this scenario will happen. New decisions have now been taken.’’

This comes in a week where more than one hundred cross-party MPs signed a letter demanding that Parliament be recalled from recess early. MPs aren’t due back at Westminster until the 3rd of September, and the MPs who signed the letter argue that this doesn’t leave enough time to properly scrutinise the Government’s Brexit agenda.

"We face a national emergency, and Parliament must be recalled now in August and sit permanently until 31 October, so that the voices of the people can be heard, and that there can be proper scrutiny of your government.”

The letter ends: "A true democrat should not fear such scrutiny. The question is whether you are one.”

Amidst suggestions about the way forward for our Brexit psychodrama that have lurched from the ludicrous to the improbable, recalling Parliament is an eminently sensible proposal.

Of course recess should be cut short.

It’s an action so irrefutably logical that we shouldn’t be surprised that Boris Johnson is probably unwilling to take it.

We have a government that knows the full detail of what a no-deal Brexit will mean for peace in Northern Ireland, medicine supplies and the availability of food. That this calamity over the hill seems to be Boris Johnson’s preferred option is a sign of the recklessness and self-interest of the man that now leads our country.

There are precious few weeks to find a solution. If, as Johnson insists, he is still working towards securing a different deal with the EU then it is his duty to tell Parliament what that looks like and how he plans on delivering it.

I imagine Theresa May is right now sitting back in her comfiest armchair with ABBA playing in the background and a wide "I told you so" grin on her face.

"They wanted something different," she says to her husband. "They wanted a colourful leader with far more interesting skeletons in his closet than a wheat field misdemeanour – and now they’ve got him.’’

The release of the cross-party letter was well organised, as the opposition party leaders shared it across their social media platforms in co-ordination for maximum impact.

They are trying their best to set the agenda all while being powerless in what meaningful steps they can actually take to stop Johnson’s single-minded Brexit plan.

It is characteristic of the Brexit saga that both everything is happening, and nothing is happening. Without MPs able to do anything other than plot, they look on helplessly as the clock ticks down and argue among themselves about which wire to cut.

The fact that the House of Commons has failed to come to a clear decision on anything – other than that they don’t want a no-deal Brexit – isn’t justification for bypassing them entirely, but that is the argument that some Brexiters have been making.

Recess is not a holiday for Members of Parliament. During this time, they will be working in their constituencies on casework, holding surgeries and trying to reassure small businesses about the impact of Brexit. This is important work, but we are heading to crisis-level disruption in the UK and the Government has a duty to act responsibly.

Boris Johnson fears scrutiny and accountability, and justifiably so. If Parliament was recalled it would give MPs time to properly plan the timing of the inevitable vote of no confidence that he will face.

It would aid with the frantic search for a person that could command the support of a majority of MPs, in the event that a caretaker government is formed to ask for another extension to the Brexit deadline. In usual times, the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition would step into that role, but it seems as though Jeremy Corybn is just as divisive a figure as Johnson himself is.

We know from reports over the weekend that the Speaker, John Bercow, is meeting up with Tory rebels led by David Gauke to ensure that Parliament is not side-lined in the months ahead. In him, opposition parties and Remain-supporting MPs know they have an ally.

While Johnson may believe the "will of the people" will carry him on to victory, he faces a formidable gaggle of opponents. There are lawyers a-plenty on the famous green benches. Their armoury of parliamentary loopholes and constitutional precedents may bamboozle even the most dedicated of political geeks, but they are planning and plotting: ready to act when Parliament next meets.

Recalling Parliament may be a sensible course of action and one clearly in the national interest, but it not in Johnson’s self-interest. It is for that reason the cross-party demand is likely to be ignored.

Boris Johnson has never been a man to make extra work for himself if he can avoid it. While many may look on in horror at this period of inaction, the Prime Minister benefits from the chaos brought about by this most tight of deadlines.