PMQs: Johnson gets one thing right, Starmer lacks guts to cancel Christmas

HAPPY Christmas from Michael Fabricant! The zany Tory hopes you enjoy a lovely but safe time with your family, and that no “smarmy lawyer” tries to jump in at this late stage and put a stop to it. Who could he possibly mean? It’s baffling.

The Tories have braced themselves for a challenge to the rules relaxation from Keir Smarmer – I mean Starmer – but really they need not have worried. If the last few months have taught us anything, it’s that the Labour leader is a bit reluctant to nail his colours to the mast when discussing major upcoming events.

Who wants to go down in history as the opposition leader who tried to cancel Christmas? That would be almost as bad as trying to cancel Brexit! Better to just sneak in a mention of warnings from medical journals towards the end of your questioning, so you can later claim you were strongly opposed to the rules relaxation should it prove politically convenient to do so.

READ MORE: Relaxation of coronavirus rules over Christmas to go ahead despite warnings

Instead Starmer wants to give the Prime Minister an end-of-term report, running through all the reasons why the UK’s response to the pandemic has been so awful and asking if he now accepts he did too little, too late.

Shock! The PM does not accept this. He’s been following the scientific guidance and continues to do so. I must have missed the scientific report concluding that the spirit of Christmas has antiviral properties. “What people would like to hear, in this season of goodwill to all men, is a little bit of support for what the government is trying to do to beat coronavirus,” he says. The same old song, with some added jingle bells.

Grudgingly I must agree with the PM that Starmer lacks the guts to say he opposes the rules relaxation for Christmas. He prefers instead to complain about the pay rise given to infamous rule-breaker Dominic Cummings and to generate laughs by reading aloud tips for candidates from the Wellingborough Conservative Party newsletter. “All I want for Christmas is a view!” quips Johnson in response.

READ MORE: Pete Wishart: Scotland must do more in drug crisis, but Westminster is in way

Ian Blackford wants to know if there will be a “detailed economic impact assessment” of the extreme Tory Brexit plans. Well, this is what he asks, but of course he knows there isn’t a chance in hell that the UK Government will be honest about what lies ahead, deal or no deal. Instead the SNP’s Westminster leader wants to make clear to everyone listening that the UK will be poorer as a result.

So keen is he to make this point that he seem to miss Johnson referring to the UK’s “natural right, like every other country, to want to be able to control its own laws”.

The SNP’s Ronnie Cowan makes clear that Scotland would like to control all of its own laws around drugs, in order to permit the establishment of safe consumption rooms. But Boris Johnson clearly doesn’t think this is a “natural right” – arguing that the Scottish Government is to blame for drug-related deaths despite having one hand tied behind its back.

So there will be no additional powers in the SNP’s stocking on December 25, and it seems the Christmas card from the Prime Minister has got lost in the post too. Probably because he addressed it to the “Scottish Nationalist Party”.

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