HENRY DEEDES: Another shambolic day in Westminster with a hapless junior Brexit minister

Robin whoooooo?’ they unisoned. You know, Robin Walker. Junior Brexit minister. Member for Worcester. Once worked for oily PR serpent Roland Rudd before becoming a bag carrier for Oliver Letwin.

No, fair enough. I hadn’t the foggiest either.

Mr Walker was the hapless soul sent out to bat for the Government yesterday after an urgent question from Jeremy Corbyn on our supposed withdrawal from the European Union.

With the arrival of such a rookie performer, Labour’s front bench smelt blood. They attacked Robin Walker, above, hard, making him appear out of his depth. They cackled with indignation. It was noisy, Bash Street Kids-level stuff [File photo]

With the arrival of such a rookie performer, Labour’s front bench smelt blood. They attacked Robin Walker, above, hard, making him appear out of his depth. They cackled with indignation. It was noisy, Bash Street Kids-level stuff [File photo]

With the arrival of such a rookie performer, Labour’s front bench smelt blood. They attacked Robin Walker, above, hard, making him appear out of his depth. They cackled with indignation. It was noisy, Bash Street Kids-level stuff [File photo]

The Prime Minister was attending a service for the Commonwealth at Westminster Abbey. Presumably the rest of her senior ministers had conveniently found somewhere of utmost importance they needed to be.

It had been a mildly shambolic morning around Westminster. Rumours swirled Mrs May might try to wriggle out of today’s meaningful vote once again.

News that she would be travelling to Strasbourg for last-minute talks were leaked via the Irish foreign minister. Mr Walker’s arrival at the despatch box added to the whiffy levels of farce. 

It didn’t help his cause that he looks like ripe cannon fodder. Floppy-haired. Plum-voiced. Impeccably polite. Exactly the sort of bloke who gets wasted first in a horror movie.

The Prime Minister was attending a service for the Commonwealth at Westminster Abbey. Presumably the rest of her senior ministers had conveniently found somewhere of utmost importance they needed to be [File photo]

The Prime Minister was attending a service for the Commonwealth at Westminster Abbey. Presumably the rest of her senior ministers had conveniently found somewhere of utmost importance they needed to be [File photo]

The Prime Minister was attending a service for the Commonwealth at Westminster Abbey. Presumably the rest of her senior ministers had conveniently found somewhere of utmost importance they needed to be [File photo]

With the arrival of such a rookie performer, Labour’s front bench smelt blood. They attacked him hard, making him appear out of his depth. They cackled with indignation. It was noisy, Bash Street Kids-level stuff.

Labour transport spokesman Andy McDonald (Lab, Middlesbrough) gnawed furiously on a piece of gum.

Education spokesman Angela Rayner (Lab, Ashton-under-Lyne) stamped her foot. Formidable Angela had a proper pair of shin-kickers pulled over her ankles. Remember Elton John’s giant platformed Doc Martens in Tommy? These were way scarier.

Mr Corbyn affected regal disgust that Walker had been chosen – ‘By WhatsApp group, or a lottery or whatever’ – to answer his question; i.e. ‘Who is this nobody they’ve sent me?’ How ungraceful.

News that Mrs May would be travelling to Strasbourg for last-minute talks were leaked via the Irish foreign minister. Mr Walker’s arrival at the despatch box added to the whiffy levels of farce

News that Mrs May would be travelling to Strasbourg for last-minute talks were leaked via the Irish foreign minister. Mr Walker’s arrival at the despatch box added to the whiffy levels of farce

News that Mrs May would be travelling to Strasbourg for last-minute talks were leaked via the Irish foreign minister. Mr Walker’s arrival at the despatch box added to the whiffy levels of farce

We all said the same of him when he became Labour leader. Even then Corbyn cocked it up, addressing Walker as Prime Minister.

Mr Walker gulped, he gasped, he occasionally gnawed for air. Today’s meaningful vote, he announced, would take place as planned. Phew. Had it been cancelled I feared for his front teeth. Hilary Benn (Lab, Leeds Central) asked whether a backstop amendment reached over the next couple of hours yesterday could be legally binding.

Poor Walker appeared to admit he didn’t really know. Patrick McLoughlin (Con, Derbyshire Dales) queried what liabilities we would owe the EU should we drop out without a deal. Again, Walker fobbed him off elsewhere to find his answer.

Naturally, Speaker Bercow delighted in his lack of big-game experience, ridiculing him like a martinet PE teacher picking on the class midget.

Ian Blackford (SNP, Ross, Skye and Lochaber) spoke of the ‘cherished opportunities’ the EU has given everyone, ‘students, farmers, mothers…’ I couldn’t quite hear who else. As is often when the SNP leader speaks, members began conversing noisily among themselves.

The Tory backbenches warmly rallied to Walker’s support. His ex-boss David Davis (Con, Haltemprice and Howden) described him as ‘master of his brief.’

Nicky Morgan (Con, Loughborough) congratulated him on being an ‘excellent PPS’ once upon a time. Who to? Why, Mrs Morgan of course. Translation: ‘I used to be this guy’s boss.’ Arch-Brexiteer Peter Bone generously assured him he was doing well.

Meanwhile, over in the quieter corner of the Labour benches sat the isolated figure of Ed Miliband. The former Labour leader puffed his cheeks, stared blankly and spoke to no one save only to correspond with his iPad. A strange sight but then it had been that kind of day.

Outside the House, London’s black cabbies were cutting up rough. Another demonstration, this time about being barred from various London bus lanes, apparently.

Parliament Square was chock-a-block. Logjam central.

Unbridled chaos, every which way you turned.

Mr Corbyn affected regal disgust that Walker had been chosen – ‘By WhatsApp group, or a lottery or whatever’ – to answer his question; i.e. ‘Who is this nobody they’ve sent me?’ How ungraceful [File photo]

Mr Corbyn affected regal disgust that Walker had been chosen – ‘By WhatsApp group, or a lottery or whatever’ – to answer his question; i.e. ‘Who is this nobody they’ve sent me?’ How ungraceful [File photo]

Mr Corbyn affected regal disgust that Walker had been chosen – ‘By WhatsApp group, or a lottery or whatever’ – to answer his question; i.e. ‘Who is this nobody they’ve sent me?’ How ungraceful [File photo]

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