‘Nobody on this side wants open borders,’ said Sir Keir. How they roared! HENRY DEEDES watches PMQs 

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‘Nobody on this side wants open borders,’ said Sir Keir. How they roared! HENRY DEEDES watches PMQs 

Pink of visage and notably peevish in tone, Sir Keir Starmer jabbed his index finger at the Government benches and, with all seriousness, informed the

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Pink of visage and notably peevish in tone, Sir Keir Starmer jabbed his index finger at the Government benches and, with all seriousness, informed the Commons: ‘Nobody on this side wants open borders.’

No sooner had those words dropped from his mouth than the Conservative benches erupted into uncontrolled hysteria. They slapped their thighs and rocked back and forth, hooting and howling like toddlers at a Punch and Judy show. ‘Please, Sir Keir, no more! Mercy!’

To be fair, their caricatured merriment was understandable. Not since Tony Blair announced ‘I’m a pretty straight kinda guy’ has a Labour leader told such a palpable porkie.

Starmer had used PMQs to trash the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill – a bold strategy considering his party is yet to offer up any alternative to stopping the boats. He described the Bill as a ‘gimmick’ which would lead to ‘more promises broken’. The whole asylum system, he added, was ‘utterly broken’. When was it ever fixed?

Of course, it was hard to disagree with much of what Starmer was saying. The Government’s record on controlling our borders hitherto has been pitiful. The problem for Sir Keir, though, was that Rishi Sunak had rather a lot of comeback on the issue. For all Sir Keir’s protestations, he’s been pushing for the floodgates to remain open throughout his whole career.

Pink of visage and notably peevish in tone, Sir Keir Starmer jabbed his index finger at the Government benches and informed the Commons: ‘Nobody on this side wants open borders’

Mr Sunak had done a spot of digging and discovered that, back when Starmer was a hot-shot legal eagle, he once described all anti-immigration law as ‘racist’.

As for his political career, never once had he voted in favour of tougher asylum laws. He wanted to scrap the Rwanda deal. He was opposed to deporting foreign criminals. In short, said Rishi, ‘He’s just another lefty lawyer standing in our way.’

This jibe provoked lusty cheers from the PM’s backbenchers. Just the sort of soundbite we can expect to see emblazoned across T-shirts worn by adoring parliamentary researchers come party conference this autumn.

Labour’s benches, by contrast, seemed oddly lacking in passion. An orchestra without the brass section. Usually Angela Rayner can relied upon to raise the decibel level but for the second day running she was notably absent. Possibly still steaming about being sent out to bat for Starmer over the Sue Gray business on Monday.

Not that it makes a jot of difference to the polls, but it is notable how Sir Keir seems to be losing his grip. It’s not just that he’s been off-colour – his performances in the Commons have been getting progressively worse since Mr Sunak arrived in Downing Street.

Just as golf players sometimes develop an unexpected case of the ‘yips’, his touch seem he seems to have deserted him. Mind you, some would say some of those shambolic bouts he had with Boris Johnson rather flattered his handicap.

Perhaps his incoming Chef de Cabinet Sue Gray will suggest he brushes up on his presentation skills? If he requires media training, I hear Gary Lineker might soon be available.

Once the two leaders had finished their sparring, the Speaker immediately called Miriam Cates (Con, Penistone). Ms Cates, a practising Christian, was concerned about the level of sex education children were now being subjected to in the classroom.

Mr Sunak had done a spot of digging and discovered that, back when Starmer was a hot-shot legal eagle, he once described all anti-immigration law as ¿racist¿

Mr Sunak had done a spot of digging and discovered that, back when Starmer was a hot-shot legal eagle, he once described all anti-immigration law as ¿racist¿

Mr Sunak had done a spot of digging and discovered that, back when Starmer was a hot-shot legal eagle, he once described all anti-immigration law as ‘racist’

According to Ms Cates, lessons in some instances included ‘graphic lessons on oral sex and how to choke your partner safely’. Cue uncontrolled spluttering up in the press gallery.

Meanwhile, hunkered down at the other end of the chamber, a gaggle of Tory grandees nearly spat out their dentures. Jacob Rees-Mogg’s head recoiled as if someone had just thrust an open jar of pickled herrings under this nose. With lunch fast approaching, I fear large brandies were in order…

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