Oh dear. Labour's unofficial collector of titles Angela Rayner popped up in the Commons today to attack the government over its supposed 'Covid cronyism'. Ministers such as Priti Patel have been accused of improperly helping to secure PPE contracts last year.
Unfortunately for Rayner her opponent at the dispatch box was none other than the redoubtable Penny Mordaunt. Mordaunt savaged Rayner's claims in a brutal exchange:
“I would suggest to [Ms Rayner] that an Essex MP is perfectly entitled to forward an offer of help from the Essex Chamber of Commerce to help in a pandemic. MPs do it all the time, it's part of our job, but [Ms Rayner] already knows this too, and I'm afraid so does everyone else.The urgent question today has more to do with Labour's internal politics and divisions than the conduct of members of this House and enterprises who have been working to help the NHS and to save lives. [Ms Rayner] has made particular accusations today about colleagues and I just want to make a final point. Because if you were to take every single MP she's made an allegation about this afternoon, and you were to look at all the political donations they've received since the pandemic started - since January 2020 - if you were to add them all up, if you were to double them, no, if you were to quadruple them you would still just about match what [Ms Rayner] herself has received in the same time period. And she should thank her lucky stars that we don't play the same games that she does.
To add insult to injury, the Speaker of the House Lindsay Hoyle interrupted Rayner, who pointed out her question about Boris Johnson's Mustique holiday is under investigation by the House’s standards commissioner and therefore an inappropriate topic of discussion. After Rayner sat down there was a second subsequent telling off over her attack of Lord Udny-Lister – breaking the rule about mentioning members of the 'other place' in the Commons. Ooft.