PMQs sketch: Mount Hoyle belches fire as Boris Johnson ignores the questions again


ike a rumbling Mount Etna overlooking the last days of Pompeii, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle smoulders from his chair over Prime Minister’s Questions, occasionally belching out sulphurous smoke.

“Ofsted was not the question,” he thundered at Boris Johnson as the Tory leader hijacked another set of questions to score a political point.

At one point, Mount Hoyle was in such a simmer to cut off the PM from another partisan tangent that he accidentally confused Kensington MP Felicity Buchan with former Rear of the Year winner Felicity Kendal, star of ‘70s sitcom The Good Life.

Johnson looked pleased with himself.  One gets the feeling that the Prime Minister enjoys winding up the earnest-hearted Speaker even more than he does Sir Keir Starmer.

Certainly, Sir Lindsay seems at times to be the angriest MP in the chamber.  Unlike the stage crossness of Sir Keir at the Dispatch Box, or the button-popping pantomime rage of SNP leader Ian Blackford, the Speaker is transparently sincere and deeply devoted to the good of the House.

The weekly clash of Starmer and Johnson began with Labour’s leader reheating last week’s resignation of catch-up tsar Sir Kevan Collins, spiced up with a jibe that Rishi Sunak vetoed a proper education package and “the Prime Minister rolls over”.

Boris Johnson

/ PA Wire

Quite how it helps Labour’s cause to reassure voters that the most popular member of the Cabinet is really in charge, rather than the berk who got stuck on the zip wire and spent daft money on wallpaper, was not clear.

Johnson retorted that Sir Keir “needs to do some catch-up on his own mathematics” because his plan was the “biggest anywhere in the world”.  Donald Trump could have written that one.

Moreover, said Johnson, he wanted to help those kids whose parents could not afford private tutors, implying that Starmer was somehow on the side of the posh middle classes.

The Opposition Leader jeered: “Who does the PM think he is kidding?”  and issued a challenge to Johnson to back Labour’s even bigger plan.   Johnson doubled down, challenging Starmer in return to endorse the Government’s training programmes and also Ofsted. “He stood on a manifesto to get rid of it [Ofsted],” charged Johnson.


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