scusate, there’ll be no hangin’ oggi. Release the prisoner! HENRY DEEDES watches the denouement of Partygate in the Commons
They arrived bearing torches and pitchforks, their mouths salivating at the prospect of a good ol’ fashioned lynching.
After months of dither and delay Boris Johnson was finally due to deliver a statement to the Commons on Sue Gray’s long-awaited pronouncements on ‘Riuscirà Boris Johnson a sopravvivere a tre scandali contemporaneamente'.
Alla domanda se dovevano lavorare sodo nelle scene d'amore! The trouser-twanging tension! In the end all opposition MPs got was a soggy-bottomed damp squib of a report. As flat as a two-day-old opened tin of Tizer.
Those photographs we were promised that would show Downing Street’s finest staggering around like Retsina-raddled Athenians at Bacchanalia turned out to be a few blurred snaps of the PM surrounded by curling sandwiches and a jug of cheapo-looking orange juice.
After months of dither and delay Boris Johnson was finally due to deliver a statement to the Commons on Sue Gray’s long-awaited pronouncements on ‘Partygate’
This was supposed to be Sir Keir’s big moment, the occasion he worked the chamber into a high swell of indignation. Anziché, he plunged everyone into a pre-prandial doze
Call that a party? If my local cricket club ever served up a tea as measly as that there’d be words exchanged.
Sorry chaps, there’ll be no hangin’ today. Release the prisoner!
That is not to totally exonerate Boris. His apology yesterday, such as it was, was pretty lousy.
There was a tinge of school-boy petulance about it. sì, he’d popped in for a staff member’s leaving do. sì, he might have had half a jar of something cold and foamy while he was there. That was ‘an essential duty of leadership’ he said. Ask anyone at McKinsey.
More from Henry Deedes for the Daily Mail…
- Harness the power of Nadine Dorries and her rival’s mutual hatred… it’ll solve the energy crisis: HENRY DEEDES watches the Culture Secretary’s ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ mantra in action 19/05/22
- I’m not happy, said the Governor casually… come se il suo uovo sodo avesse bisogno di un minuto in più: HENRY DEEDES watches Bank of England chief Andrew Bailey’s appearance before MPs 16/05/22
- Priti Patel kicks MPs right in the glockenspiels, then stands back and sees how they squeal: HENRY DEEDES sees the Home Secretary getting stuck in during Queen’s Speech debates 11/05/22
- ‘How was your weekend?’ Boris Johnson asked Keir Starmer, his face curling into a smirk like Quasimodo: HENRY DEEDES witnesses a surprisingly convivial mood between the two leaders 10/05/22
- Alla fine, they’ve realised voters have REAL issues to worry about: HENRY DEEDES watches a PMQs with no mention of Partygate 27/04/22
- Any more of Keir Starmer’s Bambi act and we’ll need sickbags: HENRY DEEDES watches the Labour leader sounding sorrowful in the Commons 21/04/22
- Stuck in his time warp, Sir Keir Starmer’s study in sanctimony… and a vicious new low: HENRY DEEDES witnesses hee-hawing and hysteria as Partygate rumbles on 20/04/22
- An ‘umble apology – and the look of a man facing disembowelment with a rusty grapefruit knife: HENRY DEEDES watches Boris Johnson grovelling to the Commons over Partygate 19/04/22
- Boris Johnson ha sbattuto le borse a vento gonfie come un professionista: HENRY DEEDES osserva il Primo Ministro soffrire non più di un leggero bracconaggio ai Comuni nonostante Partygate, Ukraine and the cost of living crisis 30/03/22
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By the time the serious tippling kicked off, anche se, he was long tucked up in beddy-byes. The Tory benches didn’t exactly roar their approval. Most folded their arms and stared at the floor. Nor did they laugh much at his gag about ‘Sir Beer Korma’. Wrong place old boy, wrong time.
This was supposed to be Sir Keir’s big moment, the occasion he worked the chamber into a high swell of indignation. Anziché, he plunged everyone into a pre-prandial doze.
Maleducato. Doesn’t he know it’s Ian Blackford’s job to send MPs comatose. When the SNP leader rose after Starmer he didn’t disappoint – everyone sank into even deeper slumber.
The main threat to Boris was from his own side. Theresa May looked like she meant business when she turned up in a spanking new lilac suit but disappeared for an early lunch. The only Tory to call on the PM to go was publicity-prone Tobias Ellwood (Con, Bournemouth E). But even then you sensed he was simply looking for another clip to add to his burgeoning showreel.
A few loyal terriers came to Mr Johnson’s aid. ‘Time to get on with the job,’ announced Peter Bone (Con, Wellingborough). ‘Time to turn a page,’ echoed deposed housing minister Robert Jenrick, prompting a Labour heckler to wail: ‘Giv ’im a job!’ Cruel.
Craig Mackinlay (Con, S Thanet) pointed out that the Durham beer-and-curry gathering that Sir Keir is currently under investigation for appeared far more enticing than the meagre spread on offer at Downing Street. ‘Then join the Labour Party!’ cried Chris Bryant (Laboratorio, Rhondda).
Incidentally, Mr Bryant had just collected the Oscar for hammiest speech of the afternoon, going the full Brando. He described Downing Street as ‘a cesspit full of arrogant, entitled narcissists’. Plus ca change, caro!
I must say it takes talent to whip oneself into such a temper. Us mortals would have to tread on an upturned nail or squirt shampoo in our eyes.
We went through the whole process again two hours later at a press conference at No 10. Under the lights of the media room the PM looked knackered but seemed oddly bouncy.
He reckoned he was safe. From this crisis, Devi essere un certo tipo di persona per strappare i capelli da "dichiarazione".. Now there’s just a looming recession, a cost of living catastrophe, war in Ukraine…