#Covid19: The most serious opposition to #BorisJohnson right now seems to be the #CommonsSpeaker

Hoyle’s law: this is a stock image but it shows how Commons Speaker Lyndsay Hoyle probably feels about the government right now.

When This Writer tweeted on Sunday that a broadcast direct to the nation, rather than a press conference, by Boris Johnson would require a televised response from opposition parties, I didn’t realise that the best person for the job would by Lyndsay Hoyle.

The Commons Speaker seems to be far more keen to actually oppose Johnson – whether it be on the so-called ‘Plan B’ for dealing with Covid-19’s Omicron variant, corruption, or any other offence to the nation – than Keir Starmer.

Here he is, announcing his indignation after Johnson yet again bypassed Parliament to announce the government’s latest Covid strategy in a pre-recorded, televised statement – and then failed to give Parliament even the courtesy of his attendance to provide the same information the following day:

Hoyle is right: Parliament comes first. Johnson’s decision to sidestep Parliament is characteristic of the kind of prime minister he is – one who thinks he can do anything he likes, whenever he likes, and takes the approval of MPs for granted.

Sadly, Starmer is living evidence supporting such a belief – because the Labour leader was indeed given an opportunity to speak to the nation.

Rather than take the opportunity to analyse Johnson’s plans and provide a constructive critique, showing why it doesn’t make sense (why are schools left out of the plans yet again?), Starmer instead dived so far into Johnson’s posterior that next time the PM gives a speech you may be able to see Starmer waving from the back of his throat.

He has laid himself wide open to ridicule:

But worse, by offering unqualified support for Johnson’s half-arse ideas, Starmer has missed his chance to make demands that could have made a huge difference to working people who are struggling. For example:

This is elementary stuff for Parliamentarians – especially opposition leaders.

And now, as Johnson faces rebellion by up to 70 of his own Conservative MPs, he will still win his vote because Starmer has whipped Labour to support it unconditionally.

Yes, it will be galling for Johnson to know he has to rely on Labour for his motion to pass.

But it will be even more galling for former, and potential, Labour voters to know that the leader of the party best-placed to take over from Johnson is most likely to carry on making exactly the same mistakes as the Tory.

If anybody wants to see real opposition, they’re going to have to look beyond England’s borders.

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