It was pointed out by the sharp-eyed Thangham Debonnaire that the Leader of the House couldn’t “muster a nod” for the PM during PMQs. It was true. Yesterday, seated at the end of the front bench Penny Mordaunt displayed a face like a frying pan. Blank. Expressionless. She replied skillfully: “My resting face is that of a bulldog chewing a wasp,” and as a result, “too much shouldn’t be read into that.” As she is a famous beauty, this pleased the House very much.
The spotlight brings out the best in the Leader. She treated the session as a recap of PMQs, fielding questions from across the piste with ease, fluency, and just enough politics to to get her scattered back benchers roaring approval in a way they conspicuously hadn’t yesterday.
Penny even mentioned the “anti-growth coalition”. She meant it to sting. “What d’you mean disloyal? I used your stupid slogan, didn’t I?”
The oppositions were equally skillful, treating her pleasantly. They know that hostility unites and that affection destabilises. Everyone involved, on all sides of the House agreed, “This is more like it.”
Such is the environment our besieged PM has to survive.