IT would save a lot of time if Boris Johnson could just be issued with a special House of Commons baking tray, so that he could efficiently whack any hot potatoes back in the direction they came from. Listening to him attempting to do so verbally is costing us minutes of our lives we will never get back.

Anyone playing bullsh*t bingo at noon on a Wednesday lunchtime will be listening out for the familiar pick ‘n’ mix selection of dodges and excuses: false claims that he has already answered the question; accusations that the questioner wasn’t listening to his previous (non-)answer, suggestions that responsibility for the UK’s Covid response lies with someone – anyone – else; and claims that others are “playing politics” by asking their difficult questions.

There was a new addition this week, when the PM claimed Keir Starmer couldn’t in all seriousness have expected him to support the radical statement that “the next president must be the free and fair choice of the American people”. He can’t be expected to comment on the democratic process of his friends and allies, you see. It’s fine to comment on dodgy goings-on in countries you don’t have special relationships with, but best to look the other way if you’re pinning your hopes of a post-Brexit trade deal on someone’s re-election.

This is, of course, just Starmer’s warm-up. What he really wants to know is whether the new lockdown in England is going to end on December 2 “come what may”. The circuit-breaker Labour was pushing for – in line with the Sage advice from September – would have been time-limited and included the English schools’ half-term holiday, but it’s too late for that now.

Johnson manages to flip-flop twice within the space of a few seconds. Firstly he is “hoping very much” to move to a different approach after December 2, then he has “no doubt that we can” do so (in which case a simply “yes” would have sufficed) and then, with searing pain in his fingertips, he lobbed the hot potato into the air and declared “it will be up to the House of Commons to decide!”

How convenient that others will be making this decision, not Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister of the UK, who commands an 80-seat majority in that very same House of Commons, will surely have very little say. All he can do is hope very much that things will work out OK, along with the rest of us.

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Moving onto Ian Blackford’s question, which it turns out is also Carol Monaghan’s question, almost as if – surely not! – the SNP politicians correctly guessed that the Prime Minister would not answer it first time around.

Will the UK’s job retention scheme – with 80% of wages paid to those staff placed on furlough – be made available if and when the devolved administrations require further periods in lockdown, beyond December 2?

Now, it’s true that Blackford has already received an answer to this question, and a straight answer too. “The answer is yes,” said Johnson in the Commons earlier this week ... but unfortunately he contradicted himself moments later. Now, when asked again, he’s come up with a new way to deflect. Instead of smashing this hot potato back to Blackford, he’s lobbed it to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who will make a statement tomorrow.

So the answer is wait and see, and the honourable lady repeating the question clearly wasn’t listening because clearly he’s damned if he’s going to give a sneak preview of the answer today.

The bingo game becomes a little stale as MPs ask about “levelling up”, business support, a reduction in quarantine periods and visiting policies for care home, but along comes a Tory pillock named Karl McCartney to save the day.

Reference to “Captain Hindsight” on the benches opposite? Tick! Suggestion the Tories have “higher political morals” than their opponents? Tick! Gratuitous mention of Starmer being “a knight of the realm, no less” during a supposedly serious question about antisemitism? House!