Daily Mail

I’m over the moon, he said, like he’d won the lottery. Wowee WAS he pumped!


Not often do we hear prime ministers speak of being ‘over the moon’. It’s a sentiment one expects from hat-trick scoring cup final heroes or reality tV show victors. PMs though? Not so much.

So when Rishi Sunak bounded on stage yesterday and announced he was ‘over the moon’ with his new Brexit deal, it was akin to watching a lottery jackpot winner spraying champagne and eulogising about how life was about to change for the better.

the PM was certainly behaving that way anyway. Wowee was he pumped! Bouncing around, all sparkly and twinkly- eyed. Where does he get the energy?

It had been a breakneck 24 hours since Rishi announced his Brexit deal, yet here he was as sprightly as a man who’d just spent a few days at a health farm locked in one of those steam box thingummie­s and slurping sludge-coloured shakes.

Indeed, Rishi had more fizz than the Coca-Cola factory he was visiting in County Antrim as part of a charm offensive to sell his deal to the people of Northern Ireland.

He believed the deal he had secured with Brussels was – ‘hand on heart’ – the best arrangemen­t for Northern Ireland and one which ‘ corrected the democratic deficit’ with the EU. What’s more, the province, in his view, was ‘ the world’s most exciting economic zone’. the way he said it made it sound like a theme park.

this was one of Rishi’s ‘ PM Connect’ events, meaning that much of the discussion was thrown open to the audience, all matey. Which is good. to a point.

HEmeans well but the problem is that the PM is prone to sounding a tad patronisin­g when speaking to the public. Each interactio­n yesterday tended to start with ‘that’s a brilliant question!’ or ‘that’s such an important point!’

Collective­ly, the audience were referred to as ‘You guys’. Slightly cringe-making.

At times, while explaining his deal, he could have been addressing a kindergart­en class. We heard about ‘ something called green lanes’ and ‘this thing called the Stormont Brake’. Best of all was when he referred to his new ‘Energy Security and Net-Zero’ minister as ‘this brilliant guy called Grant Shapps’. this guy? Poor Von Schnapps will be crushed.

No matter, the PM’s a fast learner and the more he ‘connects’, the better he’ll get at dealing with the public.

So was Northern Ireland buying what

Rishi was selling? Still too early to say while lawyers continue to trudge through the text of his deal.

But judging by the warm applause he got at the end, his audience did at least seem encouragin­gly reassured.

Meanwhile, back in the Commons, MPs gathered to pay tribute to Lady Boothroyd, the first female Speaker of the House, who has died aged 93. Much-loved Betty was God’s gift for Parliament’s televised age. Many viewers would tune in just to hear that deep, mellifluou­s voice, steeped in tobacco tones, calling for order or – just as frequently – doling out rollicking­s to unruly backbenche­rs.

So much so that Harriet Harman (Lab, Camberwell) recalled travelling to America and discoverin­g Boothroyd’s tV appearance­s had turned her into something of a celebrity among political anoraks over the pond who would tune into BBC Parliament.

‘Formidable’ was an oft-used word during the session. Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle described Boothroyd as ‘a force to be reckoned with’ who was never afraid of commenting on his performanc­es in the chair.

OFtENshe would call Sir Lindsay’s office and inform one of his staff: ‘Just tell him I want dinner tonight – I’ve got some advice for him.’ the best tribute came from a former PM. theresa May (Con, Maidenhead) spoke for several minutes, describing how Betty ruled over the chamber with a mixture of charm, wit and, when necessary, a rod of iron. ‘I was fortunate to know her,’ she said. ‘Parliament was wise to choose her.’

Quite so.

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 ?? ?? Twinkly-eyed: The PM said ‘hand on heart’ he believes it to be the best deal
Twinkly-eyed: The PM said ‘hand on heart’ he believes it to be the best deal
 ?? ?? Over to you: Rishi Sunak talks to business leaders in Lisburn yesterday
Over to you: Rishi Sunak talks to business leaders in Lisburn yesterday

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