NEW year, new you! Might this be the Prime Minister’s mantra for 2021, at this most vital juncture in the UK’s Covid reponse? Perhaps he has resolved to answer questions from fellow MPs honestly and in detail.

Of course not! Why bother answering repeated questions about support for the self-employed during lockdown when you can simply reel off impressively large numbers, trumpet “the strength of our national NHS” and say you have “massive sympathy” for the people to whom your government has given nothing?

I’ve lost count of the number of times Boris Johnson has been asked about the three million who have fallen through the cracks of pandemic-specific support. Apparently small businesses have demonstrated “fantastic resilience under a huge amount of pressure” and the PM is confident there will be a “very very substantial bounce-back indeed” if we all just follow the rules and get the lockdown lifted as soon as possible.

READ MORE: FACT CHECK: Boris Johnson claim 'United Kingdom NHS' is rolling out Covid vaccine

No doubt his words of bouncy encouragement will be a great reassurance to those who are currently unable to either earn a living or claim government support.

This was one of more than ten questions Keir Starmer crammed in when it was his turn to speak following the PM’s statement on England’s proposed new lockdown legislation. Unlike at PMQs, he had to ask them all in one go, giving Johnson an excuse – as if one were ever needed – to pick and choose which ones he replied to.

“I thank the honourable gentleman, who I think made some sensible points there…” he began, in a refreshing change from his standard 2020 reply that it was easy for Captain Hindsight to find fault with government policies after the fact.

Starmer’s first questions related to the feasibility of delivering two million vaccines a week. Does the NHS have the necessary resources and support? Will there be sufficient doses to get us to 14 million doses by February?

Listeners are left none the wiser, as Johnson instead says of the Leader of the Opposition: “I do remember the derision with which he attacked the vaccine taskforce and the efforts that they went to to secure huge supplies.”

His opponent can only shake his head in response.

READ MORE: LISTEN: Minister tells BBC they're being misled by Tories over Scottish funding

When it comes to Ian Blackford’s turn – asking questions about vital vaccination supplies, closing the UK border, support for the self-employment and weasel words from the Chancellor about funding for businesses – the Prime Minister doesn’t appreciate his tone. Why so negative?

"The mere fact that Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland – every part of the United Kingdom – has received the virus is entirely thanks to our national…” oops! The vaccine! Received the vaccine.

Moving on… Liz Saville Roberts of Plaid Cymru isn’t satisfied with that dose of bluster, accusing Rishi Sunak of “wilful misrepresentation” by dressing up £227m in previously announced funding for Wales as new.

Johnson is sure she didn’t mean to say these words – the ones she just told us she had selected with “extreme restraint” – and Speaker Lindsay Hoyle isn’t “over-happy” about it either. Oh well.

Let’s hope MPs won’t be cowed by such scolding, and wish Boris Johnson a not-over-happy new year of scrutiny, criticism and relentless pressure to deliver on his latest big promise.