THE question before the House yesterday was: is everything OK, Prime Minister? The leader of All Britain was not losing his marbles, was he? Overworked perhaps? Bairn keeping him up? Forgot to take his sedatives? Gone rogue? Or always just plain loopy?

Events at a Confederation of British Industry speech in South Shields on Monday cast a shadow over Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday. To recap briefly, business leaders expecting the usual guff about inflation, imports, exports and tariffs heard the PM quote Lenin, compare himself to Moses, speak movingly about Peppa Pig World, and make “vroom-vroom” motor car noises.

Could happen to anyone. Asked to make a work presentation on progress in your department, you ululate instead on how Peppa Pig World is your kind of place. We’ve all been there. Well, actually, we haven’t, but Boris had and now wished he lived there instead of in Downing Street. Here was a place where a pink blob could tell porkies and not get flak for it.

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Much ribaldry has been expressed about this already, and I don’t want to dwell on it for more than a few pages, preferring rather to stick to a few salient facts. So, for those of you interested in politics, Peppa Pig World is a theme park based on a preschool, animated TV series. Its key ministers include Tiddles the tortoise and Polly, an alleged parrot. The narrator is known for saying “Oh dear” when things go wrong.

Boris also lost the place, in more ways than one, during his historic speech, all of which explains why his entrance to the chamber was greeted with loud cheers, most of them ironic. Oh dear.

The dispatch box emphatically isn’t Boris’s kind of place and, as Tiddles and Polly covered their silly little earlets, opposition leader Keir Starmer began bellyaching about jolly tedious issues such as folk in Englandshire having to sell their homes to pay for care.

Tory backbenchers jeered the Labour leader, who riposted: “I see they’ve turned up this week, Prime Minister.” Last week, many had deserted the PM, even as he stood with a fig leaf covering his sleazebags.

On care, Boris burbled about assets and contributions. “We are taking away the anxiety,” he said anxiously.

“I think he’s lost the place in his notes again,” said Sir Keir, as his backbenchers shouted “Forgive me! Forgive me!”, just like Boris had done on Monday while trying to find the bit in his speech that linked Moses to Lenin.

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Boris hit back with his oft-made claim that the Conservatives were now the party of the lower classes, doing “more for working people up and down the country than Labour ever did”.

Sir Keir then quoted a so-called Downing Street (Number 11?) source: “It’s just not working.” And, echoing a reporter’s question from Monday, the Labour leader said with faux concern: “Is everything OK, Prime Minister?”

Said Boris: “I just want to repeat …” And, sadly, that’s just what he did.

Ian Blackford drew the House’s attention to the Moderator of the General Etc of Scotland in the gallery, which was possibly why his voice fell away gloomily at the end of each sentence, as if the Rev I M Jolly now inhabited the soul of the SNP’s Westminster leader.

When he asked the PM if he’d “considered calling it a day before he is pushed out the door”, Boris said the people of Scotland didn’t want to hear crofter Ian’s relentless bleating but wanted instead booster-style news about the Union connectivity review coming later this week. This is about using roads to bind baby Scotland closer to Mother England’s ever spurting teats.

Mr Blackford was well abreast of the rhetorical ploy, averring: “That certainly wasn’t an answer to the question I asked. But we are used to that.”

However, when Alan Brown (SNP) asked about Boris neglecting tidal stream regeneration in Scotland, Boris bounced up with a confident laugh as he revealed his Government would be increasing support for tidal stream by £20 million. Almost hallucinating with joy, he turned to the House and ululated: “Twenty million! Come on, not to be sneezed at!”

However, his nostril hairs were emphatically irritated shortly afterwards when John Nicolson (SNP) flicked this large bogie right at the PM’s heid: “Scots stood slack-jawed in astonishment this week at the news that the Prime Minister has abandoned his DUP bridge to Northern Ireland. Perhaps he will offer hot air balloons instead and inflate them himself.”

Mr Nicolson added that, with all Boris’s broken promises and “buyer’s remorse” from his backbenchers, “who does he think will be defenestrated first: his hapless Tory leader in Scotland or himself?”

To pantomime cries of “Ooh!”, Boris adopted a paned expression and retreated gingerly from the metaphorical window to repeat his earlier burbling about the Union review into improving road links between England and Wotsname. It was only a blessing that, to get his point across, he didn’t amplify his argument with vroom-vroom noises.

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