IN robust exchanges between Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer at Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions, Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle had to twice reprimand and remind Johnson that it is Prime Minister’s Questions and that “ it’s not for the opposition to answer questions.” On the second occasion that Johnson tried to turn tables on Starmer by posing a question, a clearly exasperated Speaker of the House said to him: “ You may be prime minister of this country but in this house, I’m in charge.”

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This diversionary ploy to turn the quizzed into the inquisitor has been employed by Johnson before and he has fallen foul of Sir Lindsay Hoyle before. The outrageous behaviour by the Prime Minister shows his disdain for parliamentary rules of protocol or probably, more likely, he doesn’t know them.

Johnson’s behaviour reminded me of an article in The Guardian by Sir Max Hastings – Johnson’s former boss at The Daily Telegraph – in which he said that Johnson’s premiership would “almost certainly reveal a contempt for rules, precedent, order and stability.” How prophetic that statement has turned out to be.

Sandy Gordon