COMESTIBLES were thrown willy and arguably nilly at Prime Minister’s Questions. The comestibles, I should explain quickly, were not real but rhetorical, ken?

Before I regurgitate the main course, let us begin with the hors d’oeuvre provided by your server today, Sir Keir Starmer, Labour opposition leader. Actually, it’s easy to picture Keir wearing a waiter’s jacket, with a dishtowel over one arm and bearing a tray with the other. Something to do with that 1940s look of his.

Sir K served up the following short, sweet amuse bouche: “How many work visas were issued to foreign nationals last year?”

PM Rishi Sunak replied: “Ah dinnae ken. How?”

Well, he might have done, were he Scottish and a bit gallus.

Instead he said in full: “New statistics blah-blah … honourable gentleman blah-blah… later this week honk-tweet … unique circumstances a-wibble, a-wibble.”

Keir, as so often, answered his own question: “Quarter of a million.” Rishi, he averred, “knows that answer – he just doesn’t want to give it”. He added that new figures due out imminently would be even higher.

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In three manifestos, the Tories had promised to reduce immigration and, each time, had broken that promise. Gesturing to the ululating Tory backbenches, he added: “They all stood on these manifestos.”

I’m sure they did. Danced on them in a rage too, I shouldn’t be surprised.

Mr Starmer went on to ask how Home Secretary Suella Braverman had “such a problem coping with points-based systems”.

This conflation of immigration practice and Ms Braverman’s recent speeding ticket reduced the Labour benches to helpless laughter, as if Sir Keir were the love-child of Ricky Gervais and Tim Vine.

Shortly afterwards, things took a serious turn when the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, asked Tory MP Paul Bristow to leave the House, telling him: “I’m not having it!” He didn’t mean the cheese. He meant the rammy.

Once more, Sir L was in an ’ell of a rage and I must say that, while originally he seemed an avuncular character out of Wallace and Gromit (supposedly set in Lindsay’s Lancashire before any of you yell “Wensleydale cheese!”), he seems of late to have developed anger issues. No wonder with this lot, right enough.

HeraldScotland: Stephen FlynnStephen Flynn (Image: free)

Sir Keir returned to mock Ms Braverman, skipping the main course (sorry, I lied earlier) and going straight to the fruit – which, he believed, no British worker should have to pick.

“Her big idea is for British workers to become fruit pickers … Does the Prime Minister support this ‘let them pick fruit’ ambition for Britain?”

The Labour benches went bananas. It seemed like Keir had got Rishi by the plums.

But the PM gave the Labour man the gooseberry, as he rasped: “We hear a lot of empty rhetoric from the gentleman opposite … That’s the difference between us: while he’s working on the politics, we’re working for the British people.”

All right, you can knock off now.

While we were all sated with this stodgy fare, in loped Stephen Flynn with a plate piled high with more rhetorical grub.

Standing there in his wee short jacket, like a ned at a job interview, the SNP’s Westminster leader got off his r’s and attested: “We learrned today that the prrices of milk, cheese and eggs are up 29%. The prrice of pasta: it’s up 27%.”

Yep, it was getting pasta joke and, slice it how you like, Stephen added that the price of brread – sorry, bread – was up 18%.

“Does the Prrime Minister agrree,” he asked wryly, “that this is no longer just a cost of living crrysis, this is a cost of grreed crrysis?”

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That’s it! Speak for Britain, Stephen! Amazing how rarely the SNP bring up constitutional issues at Westminster. Indeed, it was left to Mr Sunak to make the secessionist case when he told SDLP leader Colum Eastwood: “I firmly believe that Northern Ireland is governed best when governed locally.”

But, still, Rishi didn’t think the SNP were willing to pull their weight for the UK, telling Mr Flynn: “If the SNP wanted to do their bit, maybe they could reconsider their deposit return scheme which will … reduce choice and increase prices for consumers.”

Ouchy, that scheme will return to haunt the SNP. Speaking of fruit, as we were earlier, it was interesting to see the SNP’s Joanna Cherry (banned for a bit by the Stand comedy club) and Tommy Sheppard (former manager of said club) sitting in close proximity, while Alba’s Kenny MacAskill sat next to Alba-hating Pete Wishart.

It just goes to show that, underneath, they all get on and go together like sausages and ice cream.