Henry Deedes watches Angela Rayner battle Boris Johnson at PMQs
A hoof from Angela’s bovver boot could do a man some serious damage: HENRY DEEDES watches Angela Rayner battle Boris Johnson at PMQs
Angela Rayner had got her bovver boots on. Great clod-hopping things they were, the sort that Teddy Boys used to wear while out on the razzle.
Not for her the genteel kitten clackers Theresa May used to fashion. One swing of the Rayner hoof in these babies could do a man some serious damage.
Labour’s deputy leader had just come stomping into the chamber for her debut appearance at PMQs. Johnson v Rayner.
As showdowns go, this was a lip-smacker. I’m amazed Don King didn’t try to put it on pay-per-view.
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner had a dig at Dominic Cummings, suggesting that ‘the next time a man with symptoms drives from London to Durham, it’ll probably be for the nearest Covid test’
Miss Rayner is a coarse but likeable bruiser who left school at 16 while pregnant, sans qualifications.
Boris? Well, let’s just say Ange wouldn’t mind connecting one of those boots with a soft and sensitive part of his anatomy.
Parking herself in front of the despatch box, Rayner shot her colleague Valerie Vaz a sisterly smile.
If there were a flight of butterflies flapping around her tummy, she wasn’t showing it.
As the Prime Minister tumbled into his seat, Labour’s chief whip Nick Brown rolled over like a Russian doll to growl something in Rayner’s ear. ‘Good luck’ possibly. Or more probably: ‘Don’t cock it up, luv.’
Rayner began well. Very well. ‘I’ve got a message from a man called Keir,’ she announced, a dig at Jeremy Corbyn’s habit of reading out messages from the public.
The government benches laughed appreciatively. Keir had apparently been self-isolating for the past two days while one of his children awaited a result from one of the Government’s creaky test centres.
Somehow this segued into a question about care homes.
How much, Rayner asked, did the average care worker earn? Boris made that stuttery noise Hugh Grant used to make in Richard Curtis movies.
Labour leader Keir Starmer (pictured right) skipped PMQs on Wednesday but is out of quarantine after he had been self-isolating for the past two days while one of his children awaited a result from one of the Government’s test centres.
‘Uh-uh-ugh, Mr Speaker. Uh-uh-uh.’ Chris Bryant (Lab, Rhondda) began imitating him.
Several other MPs joined in. SNP leader Ian Blackford permitted himself a vulpine smile. So did the Lib Dem’s Sir Ed Davey.
Short odds are that neither pompous puffball had any clue either, but they were revelling in the PM’s discomfiture.
Eventually, Boris pointed out that workers were paid substantially more since the Government implemented the living wage.
THAT was Rayner’s best moment. From then on, she went all wooden. That early zap deserted her.
Turning her attention back to testing, she essayed a gag about Dominic Cummings, suggesting that ‘the next time a man with symptoms drives from London to Durham, it’ll probably be for the nearest Covid test’.
It may have read well during rehearsal but her delivery was clunkier than an old Lada Riva.
Boris was much better than in the past couple of weeks, shaky start aside. He was serious and workmanlike.
Johnson v Rayner: Boris Johnson’s blood pressure hopped briefly following a silly suggestion from Rayner that the Government had allowed grouse shooting to continue simply because one of Boris’ donors
Nor did he try to rough up or get smart with the stand-in oppo. Instead, he treated her with rare deference. ‘
Of course the Hon. Lady is right to express the frustration of people across this country about the massive demand there is now for tests…’
His blood pressure hopped briefly following a silly suggestion from Rayner that the Government had allowed grouse shooting to continue simply because one of Boris’ donors, ex-Carphone Warehouse tycoon David Ross, owns a grouse moor.
Appalled groans erupted from the government benches. Boris accused his opponents of ‘carping from the sidelines’ over ‘issues that are tangential’. Attacking country pursuits is of course a Labour obsession.
There is never any consideration for the thousands of low-paid workers who rely on it as a livelihood.
When Sir Lindsay Hoyle called time, Rayner hovered for a while. She grinned at colleagues, flashing them a thumbs-up.
It was obviously quite a moment for her and quite right too. Such a pity families remain barred from the public galleries.
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