Busy Boris Johnson has, allegedly, returned from his elongated holiday. A global crisis was not enough to get him to send a sympathy card to Qassem Soleimani’s family. But, according to an anonymous Downing Street “source”, he is back in the UK and has set his alarm for Prime Minister’s Questions.
PMQs is an anachronistic ritual in which the Prime Minister is questioned and expected to answer. Johnson has shown his support for this tradition by staying away, as he cannot then be accused of lying.
However, the first PMQs of the year is different. Johnson has been warned that if he doesn’t turn up this time there is no point calling it Prime Minister’s Questions. Nobody is interested in Random Numpty’s Questions. So he has set his alarm clock for noon on the dot so he might catch the last five minutes of it.
Johnson apologist Mark O’Vonner explained the PM’s position. “Apart from horizontal, ha ha!” he quipped. “They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Everyone loves someone who isn’t there. That’s why Boris is keeping a low profile, his approval ratings are going through the roof!”
The Soleimani affair is a case in point, claims O’Vonner. “It’s best in such instances to keep out of sight,” he said. “If there is nothing you can say to improve matters, it’s better to say nothing at all. Boris has better things to do with his time than to criticise President Trump or to turn up in parliament.”
Experienced Boris watchers agree that building a bridge from Number Ten to Westminster might be enough to tempt him out of bed and into work a little more often. So when he arrives, several hours late, bleary and tousled from a long morning’s trysting, he can quite literally take the high ground, and be hailed as a hero.
Even better if parliament installs a nice handy fridge in case any of the questions are a bit tricky.