IT is a short trip from the pavement to the Great West Door of St Paul’s Cathedral. Barely a hop, skip and a jump compared to the 528-step hike to the dome. To Boris Johnson and his wife, however, it must have felt like an ascent of Everest when the booing started.

What was your assessment of the boos to cheers ratio when the Johnsons arrived at the platinum jubilee thanksgiving service last Friday? Watching on television, it certainly seemed there was far more of the former.

Yet this, like much to do with the Prime Minister, soon became a matter of dispute.

“There were far, far more cheers, but that doesn’t make a good headline does it,” tweeted Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary. To this, Chris Ship, ITV News’ royal editor, replied: “The facts are, and I was there, the boos were very loud indeed. No escaping that. Reporters are there to report. Not make stuff up.”

The row was still going on by the time the Sunday shows came along. Not that there were many of them. Sophy Ridge’s programme became part of Sky News’ breakfast coverage from the Mall, while BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show confined itself to radio only.

Had it been decided there was no appetite for politics during the four day bank holiday? It did not work out that way. Come Sunday the story set to dominate this week at Westminster, the calling of a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister, was up and running.

On BBC1’s Sunday Morning, Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said he did not think the Prime Minister would face a vote of confidence this week, or after the by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton, but he would win if he did. As for the poll that showed Labour 20 points in front in the “red wall” seat of Wakefield, Mr Shapps diagnosed a case of mid-term blues.

Come a general election people make a decision about whether you have delivered and done a good job as a whole, he said.

“I’m absolutely certain, with some of these huge decisions, sorting out Brexit, getting through coronavirus, seeing the largest growing economy last year, these are decisions and actions which will in the end matter to people.”

Asked about the booing of the Prime Minister, he said: “Well, there were also people cheering and you’re not asking me why they did that. Look, politicians don’t expect to be popular all the time. I remember booing going on at the Olympic Games in 2012, it didn’t mean that the election wasn’t won in 2015.

“Politicians by their very nature … will of course divide opinion. That’s what politicians do. That’s because we argue about different sides of issues.”

But other politicians were not booed. Why Mr Johnson? “Well, he’s the Prime Minister, rather different from an ex-prime minister or a more minor politician.”

Earlier, Raworth interviewed the journalist and author Tina Brown, who was at Hay-on-Wye with her latest book about the royals, The Palace Papers.

Mentioning the booing and cheering at St Paul’s, Raworth asked if Brown, during her research for the book, had come away with any sense of what the Queen thinks of the Prime Minister.

“I don’t think the Queen spends any time thinking about Boris Johnson,” replied the former Vanity Fair editor. “She’s seen 14 Prime Ministers come and go. Johnson is probably the least distinguished of the lot as far as she’s concerned. She also knows how ephemeral Prime Ministers are. She’s really focused on what she is going to do for the succession.”

Also at the books festival, and earlier at St Paul’s for the thanksgiving service, was Nicola Sturgeon. In an interview on Friday evening with Katya Adler, Scotland’s First Minister spoke about the pressures that come with being a woman in politics, and about her affection for the Danish political drama, Borgen, back this week for a new series.

Ms Sturgeon said her predecessor, Alex Salmond, did not have children and was not asked in interviews about it. It was different for her.

“I used to laugh it off in my late 20s and 30s,” she told Adler. “Then you get to your 40s and it becomes more intrusive.”

Ms Sturgeon said she could see parallels between herself and Birgitte Nyborg, the main character in Borgen.

“I have encountered many men, including some in pretty close orbit to me over the years, that seemed to find it OK to have a woman who is on a par with them in a professional sense. But the minute you become more senior and the minute you might become their boss, that changes. Suddenly it is almost as if you are taking up a position that is rightfully theirs.”