There were moments when the PM made everyone from the Speaker down laugh, and most of his listeners were grateful for light relief from the crisis.
Johnson contradicts his message of national togetherness, and antagonises MPs, by appearing to regard criticism as disloyal.
The permanent crisis of the May years is not what holding the Government to account normally looks like.
Ministers’ efforts to get schools and businesses to re-open won’t be helped if MPs are visibly unwilling to return to Westminster.
But there were a couple of moments of levity – though both men agreed that this is no time for it.
To the astonishment of those who see him as an incorrigible buffoon, the Prime Minister looked and sounded unremittingly sombre.
He adds that he wouldn’t offer the former speaker a peerage, as he responds to comments made by Dawn Butler.
The former Speaker’s autobiography is a disappointment. He writes as he talks – and after a time this becomes wearisome.
But Laing’s 127 votes have to divide roughly five to one if he is to beat Hoyle – who therefore remains favourite.
Laing has 122 votes, Bryant 120. Unless the candidates who withdraw transfer disproportionately to one of them, Hoyle seems to be home and dry.
The candidates for the Speakership competed to show how different they will be from the man who has just stepped down.
The Speaker is retiring, so is the Father of the House, but the Prime Minister looks confident of getting several encores.
The Business Secretary argues that Parliament’s actions are “discouraging businesses from taking the steps they need to take”, and holding up private sector investment.
Plus: Sky News troll themselves. How the next Speaker might surprise you. And: Labour moderates are still deluded about their Party’s future.
“Dignity, kindness, authority rather than bossiness, and I do believe that those things could be brought to the Chair by a woman.”