IT’S a dream come true for every understudy. The leading man is put out of action, the show must go on, and a star is born! Or re-born, in the case of former Labour leader Ed Miliband, who was on fire as he laid into the Prime Minister on Monday night.

So will some of the stand-in stardust rub off on Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner, to whom the baton has been passed for PMQs?

In short, no. Oh dear, no. This is not good. It’s not good at all.

It’s an inauspicious start when she begins by saying that “many people in the chamber today will think the Battle of Britain is today” and is delusional enough to look pleased with herself for ruining what should have been a sincere tribute to veterans.

Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from there.

She has a message to relay from “a man called Keir”, who wasn’t able to go to work today because his family had to wait more than 24 hours for the results of their coronavirus tests. So far, so cringe-worthy as a device, but she has a point that not everyone in the same position has the luxury of being able to work from home.

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Of course, this sort of thing isn’t a problem for people like Boris Johnson, who once earned £2,300 an hour, so her question is: does he know the average hourly rate for a care worker in the UK? Gotcha!

Good grief. Amidst everything that’s going on this week – for god’s sake, a Covid-19 test centre has been closed to make room for a post-Brexit lorry park – Labour are really going with “this rich posh boy doesn’t care about you” as their top line? An unprecedented public health crisis reduced to the politics of envy? And that’s before we even get onto the topic of grouse moors…

Boris Johnson could easily have sent his own stand-in to spar with Rayner but instead he’s come along himself – in body if not in mind – and at first can barely muster sufficient effort to get her title right. After rambling disjointedly for a while he remembers that his party introduced a pretendy “National Living Wage” a while back, so says a bit about how good that is.

“Ah, he’s finished,” responds Rayner, with all the grace and sophistication of a petulant teenager giving backchat to her dad, as she rises to respond. It’s quite a feat to emerge from a ding-dong with the leader of the least popular government in 40 years looking rude, petty and unprofessional, but somehow she’s managing to achieve it.

Thankfully Ian Blackford is on hand to hold Johnson accountable for what he said in the past, rather than just reminding us how much money he has earned. Does the PM still believe, as he once wrote in the Telegraph, that it is “simply unjust” for Scots to be allowed to make their own laws “while free-riding on English taxpayers”, and where does he believe powers over areas like Scotland’s NHS and education should lie?

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It’s an excellent two-pronged approach and Johnson’s standard reply about Brexit bringing powers back to Holyrood from Brussels doesn’t even begin to cut it. He tries to dodge the questions but lacks the agility to avoid a massive pothole. The Scottish people, he says, had the opportunity to vote for more powers in 2014, “and they chose decisively to reject that”.

I’ve got a nagging feeling we didn’t do that at all, that there was some sort of promise made – a vow, you might even call it – that if we voted Yes we’d get more powers and if we voted No we’d get … more powers. Was that all a dream?

Johnson also accuses Blackford of claiming the referendum would be “once in a generation”, presumably because these SNP men (plus Alistair Carmichael) are all interchangeable in his eyes.

The MP Ross, Skye and Lochaber is indignant, saying he should withdraw his remark. But never mind that – shouldn’t he be withdrawing the false claim he just made about our entire population?

The only time we voted against having powers devolved to Scotland was, of course, when we voted decisively to stay in the EU. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the feart Labour leadership to bring this up at PMQs.