The only really enjoyable part of PMQs came right at the end in a question on immigration, and time running out. The PM broke off his answer with an abrupt change of subject to congratulate ex-Chief Clerk Sir Robert Rogers on his peerage.
It had been an indirect attack on the Speaker to make the hated Rogers a peer, now a slightly less indirect way of rubbing salt into the open wound that sits in the Speaker’s chair.
The House loved it. And not just Tories. Witnesses inside the Chamber said the cheering came from both sides of the House and went on for a parliamentary eternity (about 15 seconds).
The Speaker busied himself in conversation with his secretary. He wasn’t taking on that mob.
Feelings about the Speaker are like a tsunami wave travelling a long distance. Out at sea the wave looks like any other. Only when the seabed rises approaching land does the wave rise and reveal itself.
That was one moment of the wave passing an island. Up it reared.
In every second of every cheer the House was saying, “We know what you’re like. You bullied, browbeat, berated, swore at a decent man until he couldn’t take it any more and quit the job that meant the world to him. You have revealed yourself. And we won’t forget it.”
The occasion passes, the wave resumes its normal height, but it’s still traveling with undiminished power .