Lloyd Evans

    Boris is back

    Boris is back
    (Credit: Parliament TV)
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    Boris looks quite the statesman as he deals with the Ukraine crisis. MPs have spotted this and they want to join in. At PMQs the chamber was a-flutter with the colours of Ukraine. Female MPs sported blue skirts and gold blouses. One wore a pair of bright yellow tights from M&S’s ‘Je Suis Kiev’ range. Nearly every MP had a Ukrainian badge pinned to their lapels. And Boris himself showcased the fashionable two-tone style: blonde hair and blue eyes, plus a tie in the same azure hue. A walking Ukrainian flag leads our country. 

    Before questions began, the Commons rose as one and saluted Ukraine’s ambassador who was in the public gallery. The house was grateful not just for his presence but for his decision not to make a speech. This left more time for our elected windbags to hog the floor.

    Opportunism was rife. Chris Bryant had a ‘Munich’ moment. He felt ashamed, he said, that the UK had not ‘guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine’. Clearly he was egging appeaser Boris to begin hostilities straight away. But no in fact. ‘I don’t want war,’ added Bryant, confusingly. ‘Nobody does.’ So what’s his game? Apparently he’s trying to start world war three while sitting on the fence.

    Sir Keir Starmer offered his support for the newly popular Prime Minister. Labour’s leader is now pro-Nato and anti-Kremlin which is exactly the opposite of the party’s position during the Corbyn era. Thanks to Ukraine, Boris has vanquished Corbynism once and for all, and although Starmer wants to take the credit he hasn’t enjoyed a surge in the polls. In fact, the death of Corbynism has exposed Starmer as strategically paralysed and morally inert. He’s exactly like the political waxwork he so closely resembles. He can’t move from left to right without someone else shifting him.

    Starmer called for sanctions against Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich. But sanctions are a slow and lumbering beast. Far easier to get neighbouring Fulham to invade Stamford Bridge and annex it. That’s the sort of language Putin understands.

    Sir Keir had spent the morning flipping through property brochures where he came across two high-value apartments in Westminster owned by Russians. He rang the estate agent for a valuation and learned that these sumptuous properties, benefiting from exquisite refurbishments by leading local designers, are worth £11m. Sir Keir was angry that the identity of their foreign owners had been concealed behind ‘shell companies’. He said he wants that loophole closed immediately, and on a national scale. It turns out that there are properties owned by dodgy oligarchs all over the country. Perhaps they could be seized by parliament and demolished to make way for a new high-speed railway?

    Kate Osborne asked about ‘Covid’ which had everyone scratching their heads and rummaging through their memory banks. Covid? What was that?

    Professional headline-grabber Ian Blackford declared Putin a war criminal who should be charged in the Hague. His question caught the house’s mood. Self-righteous, belligerent and posturing. Military zealots packed the benches. Liam Fox said that now is the moment for Putin’s oligarch friends to betray and depose him. His call was urgent. ‘Time is life!’ he said. It sounded like a coded message to the Russian mafia.

    More than one SNP member complained that the UK has let Ukraine’s refugees down. Boris puffed his lungs full of air and invoked Britain’s long history of accepting migrants fleeing war. ‘We have a proud, proud record!’ he cried. ‘Look at the record just under my premiership!’

    Cheers of approval greeted this roar. A great beast has reawakened. Cometh the hour, cometh the World King. Barely a month ago, serious analysts were suggesting that Boris might quit because he was photographed next to a bottle of Prosecco and a bag of nibbles. A century seems to have passed since then.

    Written byLloyd Evans

    Lloyd Evans is The Spectator's sketch-writer and theatre critic

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