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How ebullient Boris Johnson looked and sounded today. He spoke as a man full of hope for himself and his country, two entities whose fortunes he wishes never to see sundered.

The Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, had just explained that if honourable members were allowed to call each other liars, this would lead to “fruitless cycles of accusation and counter-accusation”.

Sir Lindsay is right about this: one cannot hold a debate with someone whom one accuses of lying.

Sir Keir Starmer instead accused Johnson of “parroting the conspiracy theories of violent fascists”, a reference to the Jimmy Savile jibe on Monday. Johnson retorted that in 2013 Sir Keir “apologised and took full responsibility for what had happened on his watch, and Mr Speaker I think that was the right thing to do”.

To general relief, Sir Keir then changed the subject and attacked the Government for raising taxes.

Here is an argument well worth having, and it is good to see the Opposition making the argument for lower taxes.

Johnson hymned with trenchancy and emotion the living wage.

Sir Keir: “Lots of words, lots of bluster, no answers. A word of warning, Mr Speaker, That’s not going to work with the police.”

There is a smile Johnson sometimes gives, and quite often gave today, when he sees how he is going to respond. He worked in a reference to the note left by the last Labour Chief Secretary about there being no money left.

Soon he was accusing “the party of Nye Bevan” of having voted against various wonderful improvements to the NHS made by the present Government.

So we have an almost complete reversal of roles, or theft of each other’s policies.

Ian Blackford, for the SNP, stuck with parties, but went on too long, and got nowhere.

Would we now get a David Davis or an Andrew Mitchell, or perhaps some obscure but emerging Tory MP, who would condemn the PM from the back benches?

No. Johnson’s own troops, or those of them who were called, were amiable towards him. Priti Patel, sitting beside him on the front bench, looked happy, whereas on Monday she was grave and tense.

The Prime Minister and his supporters begin to hope that the parties are yesterday’s news, people have become bored by the constantly repeated allegations, and new and more fruitful subjects will command the nation’s attention.