IT was a moment of uncharacteristic tetchiness.

Not from Boris Johnson or Keir Starmer but Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker, normally the model of a phlegmatic Lancastrian.

In another PMQs when the chief comrade was trying to, and succeeding, in wounding the Old Etonian with his rapier-like questioning, a deal of buttock-shuffling anxiety was noticed on the Government frontbench.

Apart from Boris, HM Secretary of State for Health in England, was on the green benches talking over Perry Mason, as the Tories like to call the Labour knight, but which got the Speaker’s goat.

To everyone’s surprise, Sir Lindsay snapped: “Order. Secretary of State for Health, please. I do not mind you advising the Prime Minister but you do not need to advise the Opposition during this.”

As Matt Hancock protested his innocence, the Speaker spoke: “Sorry, do you want to leave the Chamber? We are at maximum numbers. If you want to give way to somebody else, I am more than happy.” And with that the Secretary of State grinned like a naughty schoolboy as he was firmly placed back in his box by the parliamentary headmaster.

But the tetchiness did not stop there.

The straw-haired premier was again under the Starmer spotlight, who quoted Government guidance prior to April 15 that said negative tests for Covid-19 were not needed for someone to be admitted to a care home. “What is protective about that?” quipped the Labour chief.

Bozza jumped up to insist that no one was admitted to a care home without the “express authorisation of a clinician,” and, by the way, deaths in care homes were down by almost a third.

The cool Labour cucumber jabbed another barb, patronising the PM by suggesting he had “missed the point” and asked what was the delay in routine testing in care homes.

The PM struck back, claiming Perry was “in ignorance of the facts,” that 118,000 care home staff had already been tested and, in a characteristic flourish to try to grab a headline, declared the Government would get to 200,000 tests by the end of the month; capacity is presently around 118,000.

When the chief inquisitor pressed the PM on there being no effective tracing for 10 weeks, saying it was a “huge hole” in Britain’s defences, Boris swallowed the bee he had been angrily chewing.

Aghast, he pointed out how he had given the Labour leader “repeated briefings” on the matter and that Sir K was fully aware of the situation on testing and tracing, snapping: “His feigned ignorance does not come very well.”

Goaded, Boris sought another headline, declaring the Government had “growing confidence” it would have a “world-beating” test, track and trace programme up and running by June 1.

But as both men left the chamber it was clear who had drawn political blood.