Ikea Starmer uses furniture row as an excuse to send in the removal van

Westminster is a place where “powerful competitions arise from trivial things”. Votes depend on the consumption of bacon sandwiches, culture wars rage over Cornish pasties; and this week a spit over soft furnishings created a widespread falconer crisis.

It’s a strange series. When you hear the seething, you might think the Prime Minister is renovating Versailles, as opposed to the comparatively tricky apartment above his office. Still, many small conservatives abhor the flashiness – and it’s not like Theresa May has left Downing Street and looks like a crack den anyway.

While ‘Cash for Curtains’ annoys some Tories, others will just be amazed that we are still talking about it.

The commentary, however, is impressed with its memorable props and diverse cast. the prime minister, his flamboyant lover with a penchant for gold leaf and rattan chairs, the shady donor, Britain’s most popular department store, and now the electoral commission.

All of this was red meat, even for vegetarian Sir Keir Starmer, and of course it dominated the PMQs.

Andrea Jenkyns opened her mouth – in dead silence. The MP for Morley and Outwood could have mentioned many things – the postal scandal, the vaccine rollout maybe, or why the councils are promoting Covid Marshal jobs to start in July, even though restrictions were lifted in June.

Unfortunately, we will never know her intentions as she desperately had to give up her ultimately fruitless struggle to unmute and we ricocheted straight to the opposition leader.

Did the Prime Minister make the “piled bodies” comments or words, Sir Keir wanted to know? “No!” replied the Prime Minister, bellowing his disdain for anonymous briefings (and proving the adage “better late than never”). With a sour look and the promise of follow-up questions, Sir Keir switched to his main conversation – the flat excitement on Downing Street.

With his air of worthy incorruptibility – that of the school library monitor or a person with a clean driver’s license – the opposition leader thrives when it is necessary to exude virtue. He read back the Nolan Principles of Public Life with great effect, solemnly pausing after each word. “Selflessness. Integrity. Objectivity. Accountability. Openness. Honesty. And Leadership”.

“Let’s explore this a little further,” he trumpeted in the jubilant tones of someone who knows that he has his enemy on the shelf, “to make it easier for the Prime Minister, it’s multiple choice” (keyword dutiful titers of Labor Banks) – “Who paid the first bill for PM’s apartment?”

Most politicians are characterized by the vague non-response. “We were very clear,” they’ll say before throwing a volley of verbal mush at the unsuspecting interviewer. However, the Prime Minister prefers a bespoke version of it – answering a completely different question.

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