What a swirling bubble of righteous indignation the Commons chamber was yesterday. MPs were up in arms over how critical communiques from our man in W
What a swirling bubble of righteous indignation the Commons chamber was yesterday. MPs were up in arms over how critical communiques from our man in Washington, Sir Kim Darroch, about President Trump had been leaked.
The Establishment, as we know, looks after its own. There was outrage all round.
Condemnation for whoever shopped Sir Kim was universal. They huffed and puffed and shook their heads so vigorously their jowls wobbled like canteen blancmange.
Condemnation for whoever shopped Sir Kim Darroch (pictured) was universal across MPs
Dinky Alan Duncan, on duty for the wandering Jeremy Hunt, donned his most solemn of countenances
At one point, someone even shouted in hammy basso profundo: ‘Shaaaame!’
I wasn’t aware people actually said this outside frilly costume dramas.
With Jeremy Hunt unavailable, Sir Alan Duncan was on duty from the Foreign Office to answer an urgent question on the matter from Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee.
Dinky Duncan donned his most solemn of countenances.
The leak to The Mail on Sunday was very serious, he intoned reverently, and required full investigation. ‘I hope we find out who did it and absolutely nail them,’ he remarked.
Sir Kim’s attack on Trump (pictured) was ‘toxic and unwarranted’, Bill Cash said
‘Well said, minister!’ someone cried.
Tributes for Sir Kim were fulsome. A fine civil servant simply doing his job, was the verdict of Michael Fallon (Con, Sevenoaks)
Similar syrupy comments continued until Sir Bill Cash (Con, Stone) lobbed a hand grenade into proceedings. The daft booby attacked Sir Kim, saying his descriptions of Trump were ‘toxic and unwarranted’ and displayed a lack of judgment.
Barracking rained in from all corners.
‘Disgraceful!’ shouted Chris Bryant (Lab, Rhondda). Duncan dismissed Cash’s comments as unhelpful.
Cash beamed, delighted to have kicked up such a stink. It was the self-satisfied look of a man who’s just snaffled the last roast potato.
Julian Lewis (Con, New Forest East) asked mischievously: ‘Would it not be sensible for Sir Kim to be encouraged to stay so there should be no temptation for the Prime Minister to give his job to one of her inner circle?’
Hoots of laughter from the opposite benches. Theresa May’s Cabinet Secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, aches for the plum Washington posting, you see.
The leaker deserved stringing up, members agreed.
Bob Stewart (Con, Beckenham) said he or she was a traitor and that the Government should deploy everything in its armoury at them. Not missiles, presumably. Shouty-shouty Stephen Doughty (Lab, Cardiff South and Penarth) said the leaker had betrayed their country.
‘I agree with everything the honourable gentleman says,’ Duncan purred.
Duncan was enjoying himself. He may not have many more such prime-time podiums should Boris Johnson move into No 10. Relations between the pair are not fragrant.
Earlier, he had thanked Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman, Emily Thornberry, for her ‘measured’ remarks. ‘I know she has strong views about the President,’ he said, fixing her with a gooey smile – which was not reciprocated.
Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, asked the urgent question on the leak of memos to the Mail On Sunday
David Hanson (Lab, Delyn) congratulated the minister on his tone, describing it as ‘absolutely proper’. He was referring to his performance, I think, rather than his impressively lacquered finish.
Duncan allowed the compliment to wash over him like a pleasant breeze.
Inevitably, Nigel Farage came in for a bit of a kicking after calling on Radio Four for Sir Kim to be sacked.
Madeleine Moon (Lab, Bridgend) said she was very pleased at the number of people who informed her on the train that morning that they had turned their wirelesses off when Mr Farage began speaking. Duncan said he, too, had switched his radio off to avoid the Brexit Party leader – ‘after throwing something at it first’.
Speaker John Bercow did his tiresome ‘this is me’ bit at the conclusion of the session, announcing that he had met Sir Kim in Washington in May and found him to be highly capable.
Ben Bradshaw (Lab, Exeter) muttered not entirely unreasonably: ‘Well, he is ambassador to Washington.’