AS Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn walked into the House of Lords for the State Opening of Parliament yesterday, the tension between them was clear. Corbyn looked particularly stony-faced.
However, they and other MPs did exchange rather stilted snatches of conversation, and a microphone glitch meant that what they said was recorded . . .
Johnson: ‘Morning, Jezza, old man. Sorry about the election and all that.’
Corbyn: ‘I was squeezed in the marginals.’
Johnson: ‘Ouch! That must have been painful. But look on the bright side – you can now spend more time on your allotment. What’ll you be growing next year?
Johnson: ‘No need for that sort of language. I only asked.’
Corbyn: ‘Irish Cobblers – they’re a variety of potato.’
Johnson: ‘I see. And what are you doing for Christmas?’
Johnson: ‘I say, steady on . . .’
Corbyn: ‘We’ve been invited to stay with Ed Balls.’
Johnson: ‘Ah. Enjoy.’
Priti Patel: ‘Diane, are you limping? Those faux leopardskin shoes you’re wearing look a bit awkward.’
Diane Abbott: ‘Theresa May gave them to me from her collection just before we walked in. She said they’d make me look more fashionable. But I didn’t notice that one’s got a high heel and the other’s a flatty.’
Sajid Javid: ‘Morning, John. Done your Christmas shopping yet?’
John McDonnell: ‘I’m off to Oxford Street this afternoon. Here’s my list: Free broadband for the whole country, free tuition for students, a four-day working week, electric buses, nationalisation . . . oh, sorry, wrong piece of paper. I mean perfume for the wife, selection boxes for the youngsters, a bottle of sherry for the neighbours . . .’
Jacob Rees-Mogg: ‘I say, what a splendid shirt! Do you shop like me at Turnbull & Asser?’
Jon Ashworth: ‘No, Tesco & Asda. We’re not all made of money, you know.’
Dominic Raab: ‘Well, Keir, Remain is definitely off the table now, isn’t it?’
Keir Starmer: ‘I don’t know about that. The old dodderer could hang on for ages yet. And then we’ll just get another Corbynista as leader.’
Ian Blackford: ‘Guid mornin, lassie. Glad tae meet ye. It’s a wee braw bricht and bonnie day, is it no?’
Emily Thornberry: ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t understand a word you’re saying. Welsh was never my strongpoint.’
Prince Charles: ‘Gosh, Mummy, what a dreadful bunch.’
HM: ‘Quiet, Charles. We’ll be back at the palace soon and we can put our feet up and watch The Crown. I think Olivia Colman plays one quite well, don’t you? But God knows who they’ll get to play this lot in Series 4.’