Hecklers had a great day at PMQs. Mike Amesbury opened proceedings by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.
‘Very generous,’ said a female cynic.
The Speaker joined in the barracking and nuisance-mongering. Several times he halted MPs and ruined their flow in order to scold the house for noisiness. He even interrupted his own interruptions by honking ‘Order!’ at himself in mid-sentence.
The prime minister sent Christmas greetings to all MPs and parliamentary staff. Jeremy Corbyn went one better by offering his best to those who have to work at Christmas. Which implies that he doesn’t. Marvellous news. The image of the great socialist sitting mute and idle in his Islington home is an early Christmas present for everyone.
Sarah Wollaston, who commands the indifference of the entire house, stood up in an awkward silence. She probably found this rather hurtful but she soldiered on nevertheless. Poor Dr Wollaston. She sticks loyally to her party’s precepts and policies even though she’s not officially a member of the Lib Dems. Her voice is a natural emanation of the centre-left’s fairy-godmother culture. It’s a fey, earnest and rather tinkly sound, like the swishing of a countess’s hand sifting raffle tickets to make the draw.
She complained that the government is ‘haemorrhaging money’ by preparing for no deal. Has she forgotten the £39bn to be saved from a WTO Brexit?
Angry Stella Creasy filled her lungs to bursting point and screamed at MPs about a hard-working constituent who got the sack yesterday, ‘within hours’ of a government announcement on Brexit. Sounds a bit convenient.
Ms Creasy raged that no deal will wipe £24bn from the public finances, (but she left £39bn out of the audit).
‘Rubbish!’ bawled the chancellor.
‘He heckles 'rubbish',’ she fired back. ‘They’re his own figures.’
The day’s naughtiest heckle was ‘stupid woman’ mouthed by Jeremy Corbyn at 12.19 pm. The matter rumbled on after the session had ended. MPs were already sidling off to put up their second Christmas trees in their second homes.
‘Point of order!’ shouted several members.
Jeremy Corbyn had left for his allotment. Mrs May had slipped away to spend a couple of minutes signing all her Christmas cards to Tory backbenchers.
‘Point of order!’ came more cries.
The Speaker refused to take points of order. ‘Statements come first.’ Then he changed his mind on some arcane pretext and called Sir Patrick McLoughlin. The portly knight quoted Jeremy Corbyn’s alleged slur and demanded that he be dragged back into the chamber to apologise for disparaging the PM’s intelligence.
The Speaker replied with two minutes of Gibbonian waffle. He began, ‘As he rightly surmised I saw no such thing.’ By the end he’d turned into Bertrand Russell’s game-keeper translating Wittgenstein. ‘I cannot be expected to pronounce on that which I did not see.’