Boris Johnson is one of Britain’s most accomplished apologisers (the Tories once sent him to Liverpool to say sorry to an entire city). Now, having been persuaded by the police that he did indeed break the law, he was forced to plead mea culpa to Parliament.
But we would have to wait for it. The Prime Minister was on the phone to Joe Biden and running a little late (the US president was probably shouting on mute).
Instead, Priti Patel told the Commons that we are to start sending our illegal immigrants to Rwanda, a bold choice given that the country is a synonym for ethnic cleansing.
The policy, she said, was “bespoke” – not woke, and only the “North Islington Wokerati” could oppose it, according to Jonathan Gullis. I gather that south Islington is the Burundi of Wokerati: not woke, just woke-ish.
The Home Secretary, who wishes to deport foreigners, implied that Labour’s opposition is fuelled by racism. Rwanda is free, Rwanda is stable, and to suggest otherwise, she charged, was to denigrate a country that had made enormous strides since it slaughtered thousands of people with machetes in 1994. And, to be fair, I’m sure it is a lot safer than London.
No time for monkey business
The longer the Prime Minister took to appear, the more Ms Patel’s repeated defence of Rwanda started to sound like an edition of National Geographic – did you know it is a habitat of the mountain gorilla?
Then the king of the swingers finally appeared in the chamber. Mr Johnson’s call was finished. That or Mr Biden had dropped his phone in the bath.
“It did not occur to me,” said the PM, that he had broken lockdown rules by attending a work gathering. He had paid his fine “in all humility”, adding: “I repeat my wholehearted apology to the House.”
Sir Keir Starmer was having none of it. Mr Johnson’s “mealy mouthed… apology stumbled out of one side of his mouth”, but the “public knows what he is”: dishonest. Sir Keir had to retract that very sharp word, but one version or another was used by several MPs, a character assassination by a thousand cuts that left the Prime Minister looking drained.
Mark Harper, a Tory MP, told him he was “no longer worthy to hold the office”.