There was an air of pageantry for Mrs May’s final PMQs. From both sides of the chamber came effusive praise for her premiership, not the least gushing forth from the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. When the time came for her to leave, there was a standing ovation from all corners. Pageboys laid a carpet of petals for her to walk on. Her Majesty lent the choir of St George’s Chapel to provide a choral serenade as Mrs May exited.
Later on, she made her way to the Palace to nominate her successor, despite Her Majesty’s pleading for her to say on for at least a decade longer. But it was not to be. As a concession, Her Majesty allowed Mrs. May to return to Downing Street for the last time in the Imperial Sate Coach. A helicopter of the Queen’s Flight took the now ex-PM from the Rose Garden to the lavish estate bestowed on her by a grateful nation.
Well, almost. Well, actually not at all.
In fact, it was business as usual. Or worse than usual. Jeremy Corbyn, after a grudging recognition of Mrs May’s public service, used his quota of questions to unrelentingly attack her on this her last day in office. He probably also ducked the whip-round for the card and pressie…
Corbyn worked through his script so his words could be, as in previous sessions, chopped and reformed into Seumas Soundbites for the diminishing number of online true believers. Today was meant to be home clothes and boardgames. Corbyn behaved like that piece of work with whom everyone refuses to play, who spends his time flicking game pieces into people’s eyes when the teacher isn’t looking.
The main issue of this session emerged to be the government’s Boris policy. Time and again Mrs May was quizzed on what her Boris Policy is. Of course, everyone knew what her Boris Policy is before asking. It is to suggest to Her Majesty that Boris be invited to form a government. Then Boris Policy would be government policy. They really didn’t need to ask.
Thunderbirds-puppet lookalike Tom Brake camouflaged a question about a Bletchley Park employee to try get Mrs May to admit that Donald Trump and then the Rt Hon. Member for Uxbridge were not just racists but fascists to boot (or jackboot, presumably). It was not FAB.
Mrs May made the obvious point about Labour’s woman problem to new Lib-Dem Leader Jo Swinson, that it is now only the ‘party of equality’ that has never elected a woman leader. Not so much ‘For the Many’ as ‘For the Men’, then. Of course this sex discrimination is entirely the norm in socialism. The number of women leaders in Corbyn’s favourite Eastern Europe dictatorships during the Cold War was precisely zero.
It was left to the Mother of the House, Harriet Harman, to deliver the kind of speech her party leader should have done. And then it was all over. There was a standing ovation from across the House as Mrs May departed the front bench for the last time – even the Lib Dems got involved. Labour MPs just sat on their hands…