IT'S fitting that this session's last PMQs – a 60th anniversary special edition of the format – should descend into scenes of sitcom-worthy chaos. The Prime Minister is, of course, in isolation at Chequers, celebrating "Freedom Week" by taking part in these proceedings remotely. And naturally Keir Starmer isn't about to let him forget his initial attempt to dodge confinement along with Sajid Javid and Rishi Sunak.

The obvious question, then, is whether us plebs should be self-isolating in response to a ping from the NHS app, or just treating it as an "advisory tool" that allows people to make "informed decisions".

The answer – surprise, surprise – is not very clear, with Johnson opting to focus on what will happen in the future (switching to a system based on contact testing rather than isolation) rather than the Covid rules that apply right now, to everyone including himself. Curiously, he claims "you're five times more likely to catch it if you’ve been in contact with someone that gets it ... err, that has it." Hmm.

READ MORE: Ian Blackford at PMQs: Boris Johnson thought over-80s should be 'sacrificed' to Covid

Starmer struggles to be heard above the jeering and shouting from the opposition benches as he complains of government positions changing from hour to hour, and a fizzing Speaker is forced to intervene when Tory MP Jonathan Gullis enters mime mode, warning him: "The next time you point to your watch, you might be better looking at Big Ben outside than in here!"

Johnson informs us that he has answered Starmer’s question about isolation exemptions in a letter, but rather than illuminating us about the contents of that letter he launches into his usual rant, claiming his opponent is “attacking the self-isolation system” and wants to keep the country in lockdown. Thankfully he’s interrupted mid-flow by the Speaker, who is having trouble hearing him. When the sound is restored the PM asks whether he should repeat the answer. Oh god, spare us, please. “Don’t worry, just complete the end bit,” says the Speaker, with all the gravitas of a tired primary school teacher judging a poetry recital – an instruction the Prime Minister completely disregards.

Starmer counters by reading out the latest damning leaked messages written by the PM and asks if he will apologise for his “get Covid and live longer” remarks. Will he hell. Instead he falls back on his convenient line that nothing he can say will make up for the loss of loved ones.

READ MORE: Keir Starmer self-isolating after child tests positive for Covid-19

Ian Blackford isn’t letting him off that easily, asking how anyone could have faith in a Prime Minister who typed those words. Outrageously, the PM claims the SNP’s Westminster leader “grossly mischaracterises the substance of those discussions” then has the sheer brass neck to refer to “the language I am alleged to have used”. Alleged! Blackford points out he typed them himself, and suggests the public inquiry into Covid should begin immediately, with Johnson and co giving evidence under oath. Let’s wait until the spring, the PM replies. Perhaps he imagines we’ll forget? Or maybe his next Caribbean holiday is already booked.

There follows a very diverse range of questions covering everything from fires in schools and housing certificates to daffodil picking and a proposed memorial to Dame Vera Lynn. But top prize for framing must go to Tory MP Bill Wiggin, who butters up the PM only to go in for the kill. “Given the global pandemic, public criticism of my right honourable friend’s extraordinary leadership should be dismissed,” he asserts. “He put the lives of my constituents first, and has had to adapt to the lessons that Covid-19 has taught us. Sadly, the same cannot be said of handling of tuberculosis by Defra…” Wonderful stuff. Harold McMillan would be proud to have paved the way for a sneaky question like this.

Nobody wants to continue with badger culling, says the PM, so doubtless Dominic Cummings is now scrolling through his correspondence looking for “let the badger bodies pile high” remarks. Vaccination is the answer here, but presumably in the interim the UK Government won’t be ushering cattle into nightclubs while telling them to take personal responsibility for their own lungs.

Thankfully we won’t need to sit through this pantomime for the next few weeks, and Starmer should use the time off to practise. We all know the PM’s standard dodges, tricks and outrageous counter-claims, so what’s needed are robust responses. He’s been let off far too easily so far.