“I think I’ve been a model of restraint” says Boris Johnson
There are few around Westminster, whether politicians or journalists, who have been short of hyperbole to describe the actions and words emanating from parliament last week.
After the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision that proroguing parliament was unlawful, it was inevitable that there would be some tension in the House of Commons when MPs returned, but no one expected the level of vitriol that would be unleashed.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox was uncharacteristically angry and passionate at the dispatch box, matched by the diatribes of opposition MPs from the SNP, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Of course the pinnacle was reached when murdered MP Jo Cox’s name came into the arena, and the PM’s response that it was ‘Humbug’ to suggest his language was threatening the safety of female MPs in the ongoing Brexit debate.
It was therefore of great interest to the electorate and politicians alike yesterday, to see how Johnson would respond to being quizzed by Andrew Marr on his television show yesterday.
While the PM was keen to recite a shopping list for the Conservatives should they win the next general election, Marr consistently tried to pull the Johnson away from police numbers and education budgets.
Eventually, when the prime minister finally caved in to Marr’s interrogation, he came up with the statement that, “I think I have been a model of restraint”.
There is clearly no way that Boris is going to apologise for shutting down parliament, for lying the Queen or for using what the opposition are citing as inflammatory language.
That being said there seems little doubt that the House of Commons, described by Speaker John Bercow as “toxic” last week is going to be any calmer.
With an overarching sense of uncertainty about whether there will be a general election, whether the government will side step Hilary Benn’s Bill, or if the PM actually does have a deal up his sleeve to do with Brussels, there will inevitably be more fireworks this week.
Whether this prime minister will have a job in the coming weeks is also under speculation, but given his tone on Andrw Marr yesterday, he will have to be given one almighty shove, Johnson has no intention of slipping away quietly.
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