We always knew that today was to be quite an extraordinary day in the political life of the nation, but more of that later. Today is the day when our domestic help calls around to do her bit and, as always, we always have a chat about holidays and the like. Our domestic help is going on holiday next week so we were coordinating plans for when we see her in a couple of week’s time. In the meanwhile, Meg and I made sure that we could walk down to the park and get back in plenty of time for Prime Minister’s Questions. It was a fine day but a little cloudy overall which made the atmosphere feel somewhat muggy but we wandered down, bumped into some acquaintances in the park and then walked back in plenty of time for parliamentary proceedings at 12.00pm. PMQ as it is is popularly known was quite an event to behold. To be sure, there were rows and rows of Tory MPs sitting in their place but they were generally stony faced. Boris Johnson as you might expect was full of his usual bluster which often ‘cuts it’ with his parliamentary party but not today. In fact, one could say that each evasion or inability to answer pointed questions got more and more damning. Keir Starmer put on a pretty devasting performance and although they were well rehearsed, there were one or two noteworthy attack lines. One of these was ‘the first recorded case of the sinking ship fleeing the the rats’ Another attack line that must have struck home was addressed to members of the cabinet who had not resigned with the line ‘what a z-list of nodding dogs’. At the end of PMQ Sajiv Javid who resigned yesterday as Health Secretary is allowed a personal statement – by convention, this is is listened to in silence i.e. without any interventions from other MPs. The attack was quite devastating although with the emotion of the moment, one or two lines were fluffed. But the adjective used most often was ‘excoriating’ and the thing that seemed to have driven Sajiv Javid to resign was the way in which ministerial colleagues had been sent out to lie, lie, and lie again about what the Prime Minister knew. The initial statements from No. 10 was that Boris Johnson had no knowledge of the Chris Pincher sexual antics but this story kept and changing and changing again until eventually Boris Johnson said that he could not remember that he had been informed of these! MP’s streamed out of the House of Commons and, in the meanwhile, the media such as Sky News were keeping a running tally of the number of ministers from the junior ranks had resigned.
At this point, we had a lightning lunch and then I shot into my local supermarket to do my weekly shopping. This is because my son and I have a joint appointment with our financial advisor tomorrow which rather gets in the way of our normal Thursday morning shop. So I raced around the supermarket and was fortunate enough to get all of the shopping done and unpacked before Meg and I sat down to watch the Liasion committee of the House of Commons. This is a very powerful committee in the House of Commons and is formed of the chairpersons of all of the select committees. The House of Commons invites the Prime Minister to attend this committee once or twice a year and it must tax even the most agile of Prime Ministers who have a superb grasp of detail. Now it is well known that Boris Johnson has never had a good grasp of detail and it was very evident this afternoon as he flailed around like a drowning man clutching at straws. All the while, Sky News was running a total of the number of resignations which had reached 38 by the end of the two hour session. Towards the end of the session, he was informed by one of the members of the committe that a delegation of MPs including the chief whip,the new Chancellor of the Exchequeur (only appointed last night) and the Transport secretary had formed a delegation of cabinet members to be joined by several others who were going to tell Boris Johnson that the game was up.
Channel 4 News has extended its coverage by an extra half hour tonight and the media are camping outside Downing Street and inside the Parliamentary lobby of the House of Commons itself scenting that a Prime Minsiterial resignation might be near, even this evning. If Boris Johnson does not go, then the 1922 committee have agreed to accelerate the elections to its executive committee next Monday. They will then change the rules to allow another vote on the PMs future and this might take place as early as next Tuesday or Wednesday. Given the number of ministerial resignations, it is mathematically almost impossible for Boris Johnson to survive that vote but it is possible that the cabinet have persuaded Boris Johnson to quit before then.