Keir Starmer did not mention lockdown law or accuse the prime minister of lying, and his speech at the start of the debate on the Queen’s Speech was so much the better for it. It was a serious speech, so serious that the Labour MPs seemed bored and disappointed.
But it had the advantage of setting out a clear prospectus for the second half of this parliament: the case against the government and the beginnings of a clear, modest and costed alternative from Labour.
The Labour leader pretended to laugh in an easygoing way while he and Boris Johnson walked side by side to the House of Lords to hear the Gracious Speech. And he did so again while he was back in the Commons and mocked by Graham Stuart, the long-serving Conservative backbencher chosen to make the traditional humorous start-of-term speech. But a couple of feeble jokes about the only opening in the north for Starmer being the opening of a police investigation, and a rhyme of karma and korma, were the only references to the leader of the opposition’s offer yesterday to resign if served with a penalty notice.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies