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15th Sep 2020

Ed Miliband offered out Boris Johnson in front of his mates – and the PM did nothing

The Tory leader immediately left the House of Commons chamber once Miliband finished his speech

Oli Dugmore

Ed Miliband smiling

The Tory leader immediately left the House of Commons chamber once Miliband finished his speech

Ed Miliband humiliated prime minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons last night.

MPs were debating the Internal Market bill, a piece of legislation containing provisions that break international law, in a very specific set of circumstances, by unilaterally changing the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

Eagled-eyed readers may remember the Withdrawal Agreement, better known as the Brexit ‘deal,’ being described as a “negotiating triumph” and “oven ready” by Mr Johnson, who subsequently won a meaty majority in the 2019 general election.

Less than a year later the prime minister has had a change of heart and seeks to amend that international treaty without the consent of the other party (the EU) – thereby breaking the law and damaging the standing of a British promise in the global political arena.

In light of this information it is little surprising that Johnson did not have a good time in parliament last night.

Red Ed gave the parliamentary speech of his career, full of rinses, clear logic and emotive delivery. You question whether he became Labour leader too early, why we cared so much about that bacon sandwich and if “chaos with Ed Miliband” might not have been that bad.

At one point Miliband actually offered Johnson out, challenging the prime minister to rise to his feet and make an intervention if he could disprove the point being made.

Johnson’s swollen buttocks remained affixed to their green bench as Miliband derided: “Come on, tell us! I give way.”

The deputy speaker reminded the shadow business secretary it is not possible to give way in the Commons unless one is asked and, seeing as Boris hadn’t, Ed couldn’t.

It was an extraordinary performance, made all the more remarkable by way of Keir Starmer being forced into self-isolation yesterday. The Labour leader would have been responding to Johnson, had one of his family members not exhibited coronavirus symptoms, so Miliband was called up and put on the plane with just hours to prepare.

By way of contrast, it could be said Johnson had been preparing for this moment his whole life.