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What an odd couple Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are. To look at them today, one would be hard put to say anything has changed.

There at the far end of the Chamber, behind the Scots Nats, sat eleven of their MPs who have just defected. The three former Tories, Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen, were greeted with great good humour by the eight former Labour MPs.

They looked alive, relieved and rejuvenated, as people do who at long last have found the courage to be true to themselves, before they discover their new situation contains at least as many vexations as their old one did.

And there facing each other across the Despatch Box were the odd couple, looking unrejuvenated, unresponsive and unrepentant. Corbyn if anything looked more tired than usual, and more inclined to stumble over his script, with unfamiliar words such as “mysogynistic” causing him trouble.

May looks dreadfully tired compared to when she became leader, but no tireder than she did last week. And she recited her script, all about her deal being the only way to avoid no deal, as fluently and uninspiringly as ever.

But who was that sitting beside Corbyn? It was Emily Thornberry, who usually appears quite cheerful, today with a stricken look. To judge by her expression, the Labour Party is in deep trouble, with more defections to come.

And who was that sitting beside May? David Lidington, who possesses a naturally buoyant demeanour, but today was sunk in gloomy thoughts. To judge by his expression, the Government is in deep trouble, with no acceptable deal in sight.

Ian Blackford, for the Scots Nats, declared: “Westminster is broken…this place is at war with itself…the Conservatives and Labour are imploding.”

And there were the odd couple, carrying on with business as usual. When one of them goes, the position of the other will become untenable. If I were the Prime Minister, I would be worried by Corbyn’s declining vitality.

108 comments for: Andrew Gimson’s Commons sketch: The odd couple, May and Corbyn, pretend nothing has changed

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