Sometimes, I wonder what Charles Dickens would think, were he to return to the Commons as a correspondent today.

First thing he’d have seen shortly before Prime Minister’s Question this week would have been Michael Fabricant (Con), a man with a coiffure more exotic than any Victorian wig, speaking up for “demonised” trans people.

To which Tory minister Kemi Badenoch promised to make sure such folk were “looked after”. This was followed by another Conservative, Dr Luke Evans, raising concerns about steroid use in the gay community. Dickens: “If these are the Conservatives, what the hell are the Liberals like?”

On a more useful note for the writer with a flair for whimsical names, we learned there’s a junior work and pensions minister called Mims (Davies). She told the House: “The great principle of out-of-door relief is to give the paupers exactly what they don’t want; and then they get tired of coming.” No, she didn’t. That was Mr Bumble the Beadle.

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This was Tim Loughton, a Conservative speaking outrageously like a Conservative at the start of PMQs: “Given that the Leader of the Opposition apparently doesn’t know what a woman is … does my right honourable friend think that the Labour Party is in any position to teach anyone about respect for women?”

Rishi Sunak, the PM under advisement, replied: “The Leader of the Opposition’s record on women is questionable at best … I’m certain what a woman is. Is he?”

Listening to that, Charles would be forgiven for nipping out for a swift restorative and missing the rest of PMQs, which most spectators wish they’d done too.

The aforementioned L of the O, Keir Starmer, noted that former Tory Chancellor George Osborne had called the current administration economic “vandals”.

That tit called for a tat and, accordingly, Sunak quoted a former Labour Chancellor saying the country’s survival of several economic shocks had been “a triumph”.

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Continuing this Tale of Two Titties, Sir Keir asked rhetorically: “Does he really think that everything's fine or is he just clueless about life outside of his bubble?”

He called the PM “Mr Twenty-Four Tax Rises”, a name even Dickens would reject as unlikely. Then he accused him of taxing “working people” (he really shouldn’t keep saying “people” because he pronounces his p’s like a prissy pillock), while protecting “a tax avoidance scheme [non-dom status] that helped his own finances”. This was a reference to Mr Sunak’s wife’s former tax arrangement.

Very personal. At this rate, it was only a matter of time before they accused each other’s missus of having a fat arse and heavy beard growth.

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Mr Sunak got personal tae but, thankfully, only about money, reminding us of the special pension scheme legislated for Sir Keir during his time, that nobody remembers, as Director of Public Prosecutions in Englandshire.

Sir Keir said the PM was so removed from reality he’d once boasted of not knowing one working class person. On a photo op, he’d looked at petrol pumps and debit cards “like they’d just arrived from Mars”.

Rishi retorted that, unlike Labour, at least he didn’t side with extremist protesters, sewage polluters and people smugglers (a bunch of p’s with which would have seen Sir Keir spraying spittle everywhere).

The Conservatives, meanwhile, “siding with the British people” – aye, thaim – were sending back illegal migrants from Albania.

One man’s illegal Albanian is an SNP man’s distraught child from Sudan, and the party’s Westminster leader, Stephen Flynn, asked how such a hypothetical bairn might find a “safe and legal route” to the UK. He called for “more humanity in this debate rather than the race to the bottom that we see here today”.

At this point, Dickens returns and plonks his bottom on the press benches, only for the first thing he hears to be Vicky Foxcroft (Lab) making an impassioned defence of drag queens performing in school classrooms.

Bewildered, Charles duly nips out for another restorative, which is a pity because he missed James Morris (Con) praising his illustrious literary predecessor, William [checks notes] Shakespeare, on the 400th anniversary of the publication of his First Folio.

Around the world, Shakespeare’s plays were “a beacon of hope in darkest times”, not least in Ukraine, where they’d been performed in air raid shelters.

Mr Sunak agreed, saying he’d given President Zelensky an “old copy” of Henry V, about the battle of Agincourt. Zelensky on reading it: “What, he thinks we need more bows and arrows?”

And on that pointed note, we end this week’s drama. It wasn’t the best of PMQs, it wasn’t the worst of PMQs.