One of Boris Johnson’s last PMQs – and one of the strangest

Starmer was relaxed and had some good lines, but strategically he allowed the prime minister to get the better of him, writes John Rentoul

Wednesday 13 July 2022 15:39 BST
Tricksy to the end: Johnson intends to avoid PMQs next week
Tricksy to the end: Johnson intends to avoid PMQs next week (PA)

That was one of the strangest Prime Minister’s Questions. Boris Johnson was greeted by a huge cheer from the Conservative benches. There is probably a German word for guilt-shouting. Many Labour MPs joined in with ironic support for someone who has driven support for their party to unexpected heights in opinion polls.

There was a pause for a publicity stunt by two MPs who got themselves thrown out of the chamber, who will not be rewarded with attention here. Then it was Keir Starmer’s chance to use his six questions to say, in effect, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

What the Labour leader didn’t know, however, was that Johnson intended to make this his last PMQs, so denying Starmer a final assault next week. In answer to Starmer’s sixth question, Johnson said that, if the new leader were elected by acclamation, it was possible that this would be their last confrontation.

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