He was up the stairs at the side of the Speaker’s chair before anyone could stop him. He’s quick. He’s fit. He’s nimble. But he’s not a Tory MP. He was in an alien environment, not for the first time. Was there hissing? If looks could actually kill would he survive?
He turned into the fourth bench up, and began the long trek across to an open seat at the end. Sidling, he touched knees and patted the backs of the locals, the indigenous representatives. Some looked up and others didn’t. One or two spoke to him. What were they saying? They’re politicians so it will have been different from what they were thinking. That can only have been: “What on earth are you doing here, you nob? This bench is for Conservative MPs. You lost the whip. You’re not one of us. You don’t exist.”
When Matt got to the furthest space above the gangway he stopped and squeezed himself in beside actual Conservative MPs. One of them, James Gray, didn’t look up from his phone. As far as it’s possible to do while sitting down, Gray turned his back on the interloper, the migrant, the illegal alien.
Hancock smiled, he beamed, he laughed it all off. In his mind, he was blending back in. Acting as if nothing was out of the ordinary, that he had never been away. That being thought of as a nob was actually a compliment.
The great thing about celebrity is that being thought of as a nob counts as recognition, and recognition is the only currency of that happy land. Alas, it is not negotiable coin in the tropical Commons. He was, as far as decently possible, ignored.
It must have been sad, for one who had been a medium-sized beast in his time to be not just diminished but disappeared.
The new leader of the SNP walked across the Bar of the House to a murmur of recognition from his party. He is an impressive presence, he carries off the undead look with aplomb. He shook hands with Ian Blackford behind him, the man he had deposed. It was less of a handshake than a tribal grip full of meaning that we southerners can’t understand. When the time came, he spoke, and spoke well, without notes, saying that Ian Blackford, his predecessor, was a giant (laughter) who had seen off three Conservative prime ministers. Rishi Sunak congratulated him and said he looked forward to working constructively with him (more laughter).
And then there was PMQs. Keir Starmer said the Prime Minister was weak, and the Prime Minister said that Keir Starmer was weak. But the Prime Minister was blancmange and Keir wouldn’t stand up for working people. It was pretty much the same as last week’s. We’ll pick it up next week when it will probably be pretty much the same as this week’s.