SUNDAY’S political programmes had to start earlier due to the Great North Run half marathon. Fitting, because there was only one topic in town: the Great South Run of Amber Rudd from the Cabinet, late on Saturday.

Would the now former Work and Pensions Secretary be the loneliest of long distance runners, or would others be joining her?

Rudd’s departure forced a change to the line-up of The Andrew Marr Show, with Lord Butler, former Cabinet Secretary, moved aside to make way for the woman of the hour. It was a pity in one sense, because as a private secretary to five prime ministers stretching from Edward Heath to Tony Blair, Robin Butler would have had valuable insights on the day’s other big question, to wit: what might happen if the current occupant of Number 10 decided he would not obey a law compelling him to ask the EU for an extension to the Brexit deadline of October 31. On that subject, Marr had to do with Sajid Javid. More on that bizarre encounter later.

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Dressed in a Tory blue jacket, the one-time “aristocracy coordinator” for Four Weddings and a Funeral had the air of a woman who had come not to praise or bury the Prime Minister but solely to express her sadness. She was not mad at Boris Johnson, she was disappointed because he had let her down, let the party down, let the country down, but most of all he had let himself down.

Ms Rudd’s dismay had already taken the form of a blistering interview with the Sunday Times, and a withering resignation letter in which she called the expulsion of 21 rebel MPs “an assault on decency and democracy”. Could there possibly be any disappointment left in the Rudd well? There was.

In exposing the lack of negotiations for a deal, she confirmed the fears of Mr Johnson’s critics, that any talks with the EU were a sham and he was fixed on a no deal Brexit come what may. She also revealed that the Cabinet was not given the legal advice on prorogation and only found out about the suspension of parliament on the morning it was announced.

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Over on Ridge on Sunday, former Education Secretary Justine Greening and one of the “Rebel Alliance” revealed how she learned the Tory whip was being withdrawn. She had a call while on the Tube, could not take it, so it went to voicemail. The chief whip left a message telling Ms Greening, an MP since 2005, that she was out. “It might have been polite after 14 years to try to call me back,” she said. Another disappointed MP.

Ridge, having been scooped by Marr, had to make do with Dominic Raab. The Foreign Secretary said it was “not correct” to say there was no equivalent effort going in to securing a deal, and as for the rebels, it was their choice to vote against the Government. If the rebels had been looking for repentance they were not going to get it at Mr Raab’s door.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, following Rudd on Marr, had one job: to avoid looking smug. The Scots anchor mentioned that almost every time Mr McDonnell had been on the show he had called for a General Election, but not now. “Sometimes you do have to put your country before party,” was the rather self-satisfied answer.

McDonnell had one more task: not to fall into the same trap that his colleague Emily Thornberry had wandered into on Question Time when she said that she would negotiate an exit from the EU then, in a future referendum, campaign to Remain. McDonnell said essentially the same but in the quiet of a Sunday morning, away from the QT boxing ring, and with references to the way Harold Wilson had allowed his Cabinet to campaign on both sides in the 1975 referendum, Mr McDonnell seemed the soul of reason.

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He was not budging, however, on it being ABJ – Anyone But Jeremy – as PM in the event of a caretaker government, despite what LibDem leader Jo Swinson had said on not working with the Labour leader. Mr McDonnell’s other departure from being genial uncle John came when he said another referendum on Scottish independence would not be a priority for a Labour Government. All of which, dismissing Swinson’s concerns, appearing to snub the SNP, will make for an interesting chat over the chocolate digestives when next the coalition against Boris meets.

Marr had one more guest to cram in. So busy was the show that if the Royal Television Society wants to award a gong to the most ninja sound techies in the business, the floor crew on yesterday’s show would be in with a shout. While Marr stayed in his chair, his guests were ushered on and off as the interview demanded. Getting the next guest in position, and putting on their microphone, all without making a noise or fuss that would interrupt the current interview, sounds like a simple enough job but it is live TV. If something can go wrong it will.

Marr tried several times to get details of negotiations between Downing Street and the EU out of Mr Javid, but to no avail. The details existed all right, but it would not be good tactics to disclose them. “This is completely abstract,” said Marr. Brexit, compared by some to three dimensional chess, was now looking like modern art. We know what most people think of that.

Matters became even more “abstract” when talk turned to whether the PM would obey the law. Mr Javid said the PM would not ask at the EU summit in mid-October, nor would he break the law, but the UK would be out on October 31.

“Something about this can’t be true,” said Marr, trying to impose logic on events. If only someone could.