Who would have believed it? Not only did Theresa May entertain her fellow guests at the Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards dinner last night with another jig to Abba’s Dancing Queen, but the former PM told some rather good jokes. And a rather risqué one at that.
Accepting her award for Backbencher of the Year, May thanked her parliamentary colleagues for helping her become a backbencher again, adding, to much laughter, that “many of you are present.”
She then went on to thank others who have been praising her as the new Mrs Awkward as she hassles the government from the backbenches – her fellow Labour and LibDem MPs. Not so much laughter.
But then came her piece de resistance: a joke about a couple who had multiple partners and who were about to have their first intimate relationship. The woman admits she is a virgin, explaining her former partners were politicians: one Labour, one LibDem and one SNP.
Boris Johnson managed to get his mojo back during a rowdy edition of Prime Minister’s Questions amid reports of unrest in the Conservative Party.
The Prime Minister was set for a tough encounter following reports that MPs have begun filing letters of no confidence to the 1922 Committee. Unlike last week’s calamitous PMQs, droves of Tory backbenches “turned up” in support of their leader under pressure over a surfeit of issues.
Sir Keir Starmer asked “conman” Boris if “everything is okay?” So too did the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford, inquiring whether he has “considered calling it a day before he’s pushed out the door”.
But Johnson was gunning for the opposition and was jouncing besides the dispatch box. When asked about scrapping of the eastern leg of HS2, he slammed the Labour leader for campaigning against high-speed rail only to berate Number 10 for scaling it back. “How can they possibly trust this man?”
On the “working-class dementia tax”, as Starmer branded it, where those on social care will pay more towards the cap on lifetime payments which may result in people selling their properties, Johnson insisted: “We will disregard your home as part of your assets if you and your spouse are living in it. You can have a deferred payment agreement.”
The PM didn’t seem phased by reports of a rift between him and his neighbour in Number 11, as he sat beside Chancellor Rishi Sunak on the government frontbenches. “I’ll tell you what’s not working is that line of attack.”
His party’s ratings have shot back up after three weeks stuck in political quagmire, but according to a new poll by Savanta ComRes his favourability as PM has dropped to its lowest level ever (-14). The chances of a forthcoming leadership challenge stay low, but whether his premiership can sustain this level of onslaught is up for debate.