Sajid Javid met his match in the Commons – even right down to the jackets

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It was positively surreal. Hearing the party of “Lockdown early and often” and “If in doubt, self-isolate in the airing cupboard until further notice” suddenly bewailing the snail-like pace of relaxation felt uncanny somehow; like watching a dog walk on its hind paws, or one of those Sir David Attenborough documentaries where the pack of hyenas suddenly turn the tables on a ravening leopard and start chasing it instead.

Pinned to the wall, Mr Javid reached for old faithful: the NHS and booster vaccinations. “He had another fresh opportunity to thank the NHS for the enormous work that they have been doing,” spluttered the Health Secretary weakly, “and not one word of thanks, not ONE word of thanks!”

Soon, Mr Streeting’s expressions had moved from pained to constipated, and the heckling grew correspondingly louder too. “If you want to return to the despatch box, I’ll sit down,” said the Health Secretary, gesturing to give way.

“Yep, go on!” urged one of Mr Streeting’s colleagues, as if braying for a bare-knuckle brawl there and then. It certainly didn’t help that both Messrs Javid and Streeting wore identical blue suits – their matching uniforms, and Mr Streeting’s youthful features, gave the fracas an overwhelming sense of a pair of overgrown sixth-formers coming to blows in the school cafeteria.

However, the honour of the health service was at stake, and cometh the hour, cometh the man. Mr Streeting sprung to his feet. “The Prime Minister is not fit to lick the boots of NHS staff in this country!” he cried stirringly, every inch the NHS’s valiant young Lochinvar.

“We won’t have that again, please!” tut-tutted deputy speaker Nigel Evans as Mr Streeting sat down, pink-faced. Oh, but I think we will.

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