Rarest of PMQs: Corbyn Wins, Speaker Cheered

A white peacock, Shakespeare’s signature in manuscript, the transition of Venus, pure platinum, the albino humpback whale, a Wagyu steak Big Mac, the first-contact of a lost tribe, a blue moon, the philosopher’s stone, blood type AB minus, the St. Francis Satyr butterfly, a complete copy of The Gutenberg Bible, the element astatine, a jeroboam of Château Mouton-Rothschild 1945, a twin tornado ripping across a golden plain of orchids illuminated by a double rainbow: all of them among the rarest occurrences or items found on this mad, spinning, Tory-run sphere we call home. Yet one phenomenon is rarer still…

It has been valued by Christie’s experts as beyond the sum of all currency currently in circulation – globally. It has been verified by the most expert lapidarists as less common than the rarest known gem. NASA scientists have placed it beyond technological understanding. A panel of the top surgeons concurred it lies beyond medical explanation. Philosophers and mystics place it beyond the reckoning of all human comprehension, beyond knowledge obtainable by the essence of the soul itself. What ever can it be? Jeremy Bernard Corbyn winning six nil at Prime Minister’s Questions, of course…

That pearl of great price, Jezza’s long-promised land, finally arrived this Wednesday – and completely unexpectedly. None of the domestic dramas which have plagued the PM in previous weeks were at the top of the agenda – her ever-troubled coast, her 24/7/365 Omaha Beach, seemed clear (except for the compulsory plate-full of Mrs May’s Finest Brexit Fudge). This time – for once, for the first time – the geriatric communist had done his homework. Jezza impaled the Prime Minister not once but six times, holding her to ransom first with a (somewhat predictable) dig based on Boris’s comments. But then he diversified, targeting her divided Cabinet, the customs and trade bills, and for banter’s sake, Ken Clarke teed him up…

This lunchtime also proved a superb public interview for Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, who managed not only to begin the session on time but allowed an entire uninterrupted exchange to develop between the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition It’s now 43 days until John Bercow said he would resign. And it’s an even more auspicious day for Mr Hoyle: Guido hears he is on his way to the Palace to pickup his knighthood this afternoon. The lanky northern grump has a reputation among Labour backbenchers as a canny operator; he’s on the move faster than the Tour de Yorkshire. PMQs began with him booming from the chair in his no nonsense whippets-and-flat-cap drawl: “let’s get on with it”. It ended with Hoyle capping-off proceedings bang on time. Bercow returns to London today from Scotland, where he has been attending the funeral of former Speaker Michael Martin. The over-testosteroned gnome returns to notices advertising the wake for his own career…

Sketch Round-Up

Tip offs: 020 7193 4041

Quote of the Day

Expelled Tory MP, Richard Benyon, on the short three-day Programme Motion for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill:

“Whether you had three days, three weeks or three months debating this, you would not hear one original argument that we hadn’t otherwise heard in this process…”


Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.