In a week in which we have seen more allegations about Downing Street and Conservative Christmas parties and the implementation of Plan B measures almost scuppered by his own side, we wonder how Boris Johnson felt as he walked into parliament ready for PMQs.

Did he feel nervous? Excited? Hungry for lunch? Or just desperate to get it over and done with before parliament adjourns for the festive period?

We suspect the latter given the state of his leadership at the moment but it’s a question only he can answer. So, as he shuffled in to face opposition leader Keir Starmer, how did he get on?

Will he be rewarding himself with a mince pie or will Santa leave coal in his stocking this Christmas? Let’s take a look.

“Yesterday was the second biggest vaccination day by the NHS ever,” Johnson, 9/10

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After Starmer teased him about the number of Tories who rebelled against his Plan B measures yesterday, Johnson celebrated the vaccine rollout.

While there have been huge challenges including unprepared staff, long queues, and tests running out since Johnson ignited panic on national television last Sunday, people getting jabs can only be a good thing, so fair play.

“Can I take this opportunity to make clear to the prime minister, that if further votes are needed to save lives and protect the NHS, Labour MPs will follow my leadership and we will always put the national interest first. Can I ask the prime minister to get his house in order so he can say the same about the members behind him?” Starmer, 7/10

Starmer has been criticised by some on the left who believe he should - as the opposition leader - oppose Johnson no matter what. Indeed, had he opposed him, the measures would not have passed, Johnson’s leadership would further disintegrate and that would have all been very good news for the Labour Party indeed.

But at what cost to public health? Starmer was right not to use lives as pawns in his political career and instead support measures that will slow the spread of omicron and that’s the kind of politician that deserves our respect.

And it’s not like Johnson passing Plan B has made him look strong – he knows he couldn’t have done it without Starmer’s support and news of the Tory rebellion have dominated headlines more than his measures have.

A win win move from Starmer, then.

“They wibbled wobbled over plan B. They wibbled wobbled over quarantine. If we listened to him we would not even had the vaccine rollout... we wouldn’t have opened up on July 19th,” Johnson, 1/10

Give us strength. Once again, Johnson read out his list of ways in which Starmer has disagreed with him in the past and harking back to the “joys” of reopening society on 19 July is becoming increasingly less meaningful given Covid is very much back and further restrictions to stop it have not been ruled out.

But we all had a lovely day on 19 July, didn’t we?

“Let me put that straight back in his box. The Labour party yesterday showed the leadership that the prime minister lacks,” Starmer, 8/10

Starmer is acting like a prime minister in waiting. He again demonstrated how weak Johnson’s premiership is without him propping him up and he more than put him in his place.

“Overpromise after overpromise until reality catches up,” Starmer, 9/10

Starmer then listed a plethora of Johnson’s broken promises and laid bare the reality – this is a PM who is all talk and minimal action.

“He comes to this house pompously claiming that he wants to rise above party politics... and then he plays political games,” Johnson, 1/10

Johnson is wrong to dismiss Starmer’s line of questioning as “political games”. If Johnson cannot whip his own party to support his measures, it shows his grip on power is loosening, making it difficult for him to make measures the country needs.

“The Prime Minister has had a week to come up with a good answer. Has he done so?” Starmer, 8/10

And speaking of trust, he has also lost the trust of the public given the allegations Downing Street hosted a number of parties over the Christmas period last year while the country obeyed strict coronavirus guidelines.

Starmer moved seamlessly to this topic and put Johnson on the spot and, reader, Johnson didn’t come up with a good answer and just shouted buzzwords about how great the economy is, how great our vaccines are and how great the Tories are.

Rather grating.

“We’re burdened with the worst possible prime minister at the worst possible time. Will the prime minister take time this Christmas to look in the mirror and ask himself whether he has the trust and the authority to lead this country?” Starmer 9/10

This is the closest Starmer has ever got to suggesting Johnson should resign and, as he has been criticised for not using stronger language when opposing him, perhaps some of his naysayers will calm down?

He put the question to Johnson himself, said he has “no hope” of regaining “moral authority” needed for the public to obey any further Covid restrictions and left him raising his voice in outrage as he struggled to make his case in response.

Smooth.

Verdict

This was one of Johnson’s worst performances ever. No matter what Starmer threw at him, Johnson relied on his usual catchphrases and lines and if Starmer isn’t utterly bored of having the same conversation with him over and over again we’d be surprised.

The PM may as well not have even attended PMQs, as an impressionist or a soundboard with all his usual quotes would have done just as well.

Johnson should expect his stocking to look rather empty this year.

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