At Prime Minister’s Questions, at six minutes past midday, Theresa May almost began to dance. Jeremy Bernard Corbyn had just tried to catch her off-guard – rather like a mugger – by leading on London’s crime wave. That is, the plague of midnight stabbing and acid-ing unleashed by New Labour’s lost children. Cue Theresa: “He might not have noticed but the Police and Crime Commissioner in London is the Mayor…”
As soon as she said “mayor”, Theresa May started to flick her wrist back and forth, finger outstretched, pointing between the government and opposition benches. This is a new action in a limited repertoire of gestures, a far cry from the ‘nothing has changed maniacal double-hand wave’. Turning side on, she paused, then said: “is he one of ours or one of yours?”
Unusually, her backbenchers roared with glee. Damian Green raised a smile wider than a pornstar’s legs. And then it really started to happen. Riding the crest of the wave, as stand-up comics call it, Theresa May herself smiled and said: “perhaps the leader of the Labour Party thinks the mayor’s not Labour enough for him.”
Had her Strepsils been swapped for some banned performance enhancing drug? How long could this near-symphonic high last for the Prime Minister? She had succeed in delighting the House more with this attacking first answer than she has at any parliamentary appearance since the election. Put more of this in her Benylin!
Meanwhile, presumably bogged down in a three-day discussion on the Illuminati with Emma Dent Coad, Jeremy had forgotten to send Georgina’s letter to Downing Street. Georgina is one of the distressed constituents who does what any reasonable person would do when down on their luck: write a raving letter to a national hate figure. If we’re perfectly honest, Jeremy wouldn’t know Georgina if he fell over her in the street. His interest in her goes as far as political point scoring and no farther. The doddery old fool has probably lost her letter.
We can’t move on without dwelling on Dent Coad for a moment. She wasn’t spied in the chamber, as, like Jared O’Mara before her, she was presumably busy by her computer, madly attempting to delete her library of hate from the internet. Too late.
A by-now-buzzing May capitalised, digging at Corbyn: “actually I think this is a major moment, he has got something right today, we are the government and he is the opposition”. Later, she had a good salvo riffing on various indicators which were “up” or “down”, clearly designed for backbenchers to join in, chorus-like. If she carries on like this, there’s just a slim chance they actually might.
Suspended Charlie Elphicke was called, and for a moment everyone thought there might be some controversy. There was none.
At 46 minutes past the hour GMT, or four minutes past the hour SBT (Speaker Bercow Time), pea-brained irrelevance Angela Eagle rose to ask the Prime Minister: “how she thinks it’s going?” Eagle, although named for the most majestic of all birds of prey, has the intellectual capacity of cold mashed potato.
There is nothing appealing about this overpaid dunderhead, who, by attempting to string together a sentence in the Chamber, seemed somehow to believe she had dealt a killer blow to May.
This was the longest PMQs so far of the parliamentary session. Can’t we get them all on May’s super-Strepsils, if only to finish more quickly?