Yesterday’s PMQs was a sombre affair, because of the untimely death of well-liked Labour MP Paul Goggins. The party leaders made a concerted effort to be a little more civil to one another. And backbenchers seemed subdued by the loss of one of their own. There were a few exceptions, though. Labour’s Chris Bryant took great pleasure in singling out Matthew Hancock for ‘not quite entering into the spirit of today’ when the Tory Minister dared to suggest that Labour’s jobs pledge had been ‘absolutely demolished’.

As usual, Bryant gave a running commentary of proceedings online. He made a passing literary reference when the Prime Minister donned some glasses:

Cameron wears glasses. Always at my back I hear Time’s winged chariot hurrying near.

— Chris Bryant (@ChrisBryantMP) January 8, 2014

 

‘Always at my back I hear’? Anyone with an English Literature GCSE could tell Mr Bryant that the line is:

‘But at my back I always hear/ Time’s winged chariot hurrying near’

And how does the rest of that passage from Andrew Marvell’s ‘To His Coy Mistress’ run?

And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv’d virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

Marble vaults. Deserts of vast eternity. A fine and private place. Hardly ‘entering into the spirit’ of the day, is it?

Tags: Chris Bryant, PMQs, Poetry