‘Events? No, they had been gatherings,’ oozed the PM’s Clutcher-at-Straws: HENRY DEEDES watches the Paymaster Common explaining the Christmas occasion scandal to Parliament
One of many upshots of the Downing Street occasion debacle is that it has left the Prime Minister considerably quick on pals.
Seems even his Cupboard aren’t all that eager on going out to bat on his behalf. A stint in Brisbane in opposition to these terrifying Aussie fast bowlers and not using a field would in all probability be preferable. So Labour’s Pressing Query on the matter yesterday introduced the Tory whips’ workplace with an issue. Who to ship out and reply?
You’ll be able to simply think about chief whip Mark Spencer’s dialogue together with his minions: ‘Simply ship that clown Gavin Williamson.’ ‘No, we sacked him.’ ‘What about Saj Javid?’ ‘Shampooing his hair, apparently.’ How they might have accomplished with that trusty human flak jacket Matt Hancock.
And so it was that some brilliant spark stumble on the thought of dispatching Michael Ellis. ‘Good man Ellis,’ they are going to have concurred. ‘Sturdy. Reliable.’ QC Ellis solutions to the modest title of Paymaster Common, but possesses the lofty pretensions of a powder-wigged courtier. For Ellis, the chance to throw his ample body underneath a bus for the Prime Minister was not just a few menial process. It was (cue French horns!) a sign honour. ‘Michael Ellis!’ yelled Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle simply after 10.30am.
One of many upshots of the Downing Avenue occasion debacle is that it has left the Prime Minister considerably quick on pals
Ellis knowledgeable the Home that the Cupboard Secretary could be investigating alleged ‘gatherings’ final November and December at each Downing Avenue and the Division for Training. Fantastic that description ‘gathering’. Far much less gauche than ‘occasion’. One imagines the Ellis lip curling with satisfaction when he coined that one.
MPs sitting reverse Ellis erupted into hysterical bleating. ‘Gathering?’ they chorused. ‘Gathering? Gathering?’ The SNP’s Martin Docherty-Hughes (W Dunbartonshire) mentioned it was a celebration, plain and easy.
‘If one thing appears like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and it’s at a Christmas occasion, it’s often a duck!’ he chirped.
Fastidious little chap, Docherty-Hughes. In one other life, he would have been an irritating planning officer who delights in informing individuals when their roof extension has been constructed on the flawed gradient. Worse, he seemed to be carrying white socks.
The consensus amongst opposition MPs was that the PM was a cad. A number of referred to as on him to resign. Ellis stiffened his backbone and thumbed his lapels. ‘I’ve recognized the Prime Minister a few years,’ he intoned, voice as wealthy and creamy as thick butter soup. ‘He’s a person of honesty and integrity…’ Sure, properly. From the abandoned authorities benches there got here a courageous suggestion from Sir Desmond Swayne (Con, New Forest W). He ventured that when these No 10 ‘gatherings’ occurred, the PM may have been in his flat blissfully unaware they had been happening.
Ellis nodded approvingly. ‘It’s actually true as a matter of geography that No 10 Downing Avenue is a really massive property with a large number of workplaces and with many, many individuals working inside it,’ he replied. A Excessive Courtroom may probably think about such a defence to be the proper illustration of clutching at straws.
So it was that some brilliant spark stumble on the thought of dispatching Michael Ellis. ‘Good man Ellis,’ they are going to have concurred. ‘Sturdy. Reliable’
Labour’s benches heckled and wailed. Roisterer-in-chief was Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) who behaved like he was at a Bernard Manning present. When somebody talked about that the PM’s spouse Carrie had given delivery, they grumbled ungraciously. Not a soul murmured any approval. Stylish. Insults for Boris continued thick and quick. That everlasting rain cloud Carol Monaghan (SNP, Glasgow NW) instructed the PM ‘return to watching Peppa Pig and let the grown-ups run the nation’. Her attention-prone colleague Anum Qaisar (Airdrie) described the PM as ‘sneaky, manipulative and corrupt’.
As soon as once more Ellis straightened himself and peered regally over his spectacles.
‘I do know the Prime Minister,’ he replied. ‘He’s a buddy of mine and I do know him to be a person of honour and integrity…’ Good man, Ellis. Sturdy. Reliable. That knighthood is within the bag, absolutely.