'You could only laugh or cry at this week's PMQs' - our columnist on the Downing Street party fiasco

Most people avoid Prime Minister’s Questions. It’s usually little more instructive than an average chimps’ tea party and less entertaining.

Friday, 10th December 2021, 11:56 am
Updated Friday, 10th December 2021, 11:58 am

Anything relevant to accidentally arise can be viewed later on the news. But this week’s was different. It was unusually absorbing. A real popcorn muncher.

The Opposition front bench, successfully disguising schadenfreude and their own deep divisions, couldn’t believe their luck.

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The Prime Minister could only repeat – and repeat – that he was FURIOUS with what had gone on (where he lives). Livid. Couldn’t be livider.

He apologised for the Christmas party that neither he nor anyone around him would admit to having happened. Despite it having occurred a year previously and reported a week ago, Mr Johnson gave a passable impression of someone who had only found out about it ten minutes ahent.

It was real ‘dog ate my homework’ stuff. Nevertheless heads will roll, although it will be interesting to see whose.

First under the bus is adviser Allegra Stratton, who gave an emotional and slightly bizarre resignation statement; apologising before meandering into something about how well Johnson has done “on climate change and on nature”.

As Richard Nixon discovered, it isn’t the crime; it’s the cover-up. The real issue is how much Johnson knew. He can’t cripes! and crumbs! his way out of this one.

Previous PMs Cameron, Thatcher, Wilson, Eden and Chamberlain resigned respectively because of Brexit, party mutiny, Alzheimer’s, Suez and World War Two.

Cynics might find it apposite if Johnson resigns over an illicit game of pass-the-parcel that he didn’t even attend.

However, those who think the whole affair is unimportant or trivial, and that “there are more important things you know”, are being deliberately disingenuous. Unless of course they’re plain thick, in which case we apologise.

The SW1A knees-up was crass, misguided, hypocritical and offensive. But worse; many will regard it as de facto permission to do as they please regarding covid laws. No one can expect to be taken seriously if they fail to see how serious this all is.

Still, we were entitled to laugh at this week’s PMQs; because the only alternative was to cry.

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