THE day after the day before and Red Ed, amid the blood and guts of the Conservative reshuffle, was ready to unfurl a well-prepared left hook.

Right from the off, the chief comrade, cheers ringing in his ears as he stepped into the ring, jumped up and insisted Labour had always said it would support the Government when it did the right thing, "so can I join thousands of parents across the country in congratulating him on getting rid of the Education Secretary". The comrades cheered.

Michael Gove, Blue Dave's second, sitting next to the supreme leader on the frontbench, smiled broadly, knowing it was a dead cert the Labour chief could not resist the temptation to have a pop at his chin.

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After the PM insisted he had chosen the best candidate as Chief Whip, Red Ed reminded him about his previous statement in which he had declared his undying loyalty to his Scottish chum with the clear intention of keeping him as Education Secretary year after year.

Flashman, looking dizzy, parried the punch by expressing astonishment that on a day of a record employment increase, the Labour bruiser could not bring himself to welcome the good news, adding: "I'm not surprised he does not want to talk about people in work, his own job is a bit shaky."

As Ed sought to deliver a knock-out blow on the cost of living crisis, the PM was too nifty on his feet, dodging this way and that. Quietly, Dave placed an iron bar into his glove thanks to earlier remarks from Harriet Harman on tax, which the Tories chose to interpret in a devastating way.

Flashman leaned forward and quoted the deputy chief comrade, saying how people on middle incomes should pay more tax. As Ms H sought to intervene, Dave insisted to the gallery she was in fact confirming it. To loud Tory cheers, the PM declared: "The squeezed middle will be squeezed more!"

Ed, reeling, insisted this was "totally desperate stuff" but the damage was done.

The PM stood up for one more blow and declared the difference between the two parties was that in the Tory Party the leader reshuffled his Cabinet but in the Labour Party the Shadow Cabinet "desperately want to reshuffle the leader".

Bruised and battered, the chief comrade sat down.

The glum Labour faces behind him said it all.