Forget Churchill. Never mind the Iron Duke. Ignore the claims of Pitt the Younger. The greatest prime minister in British history is Theresa May. That was the message from PMQs today. Tory after Tory stood up to heap praise on their departing chief.
Wages are up. Homelessness is falling. Employment is on the rise, thanks to her brilliant captaincy of the nation. We heard about honour, duty, courtesy and public service. It seems that she carried each of these virtues to a pitch that no successor can surpass. ‘Fantastic’ was the only word to describe her policies on mental health. Her domestic violence agenda, we were told, will be an eternal legacy. And on modern slavery she has led the world. It was as if the Tories were in the presence of a demi-god. Superwoman herself. She was appropriately dressed in an electric blue power-tunic that made one’s eye-balls smart.
Alistair Burt, (he of the timid jowls and gleaming skull), told us that May’s ‘global health programme’ had won her international prizes, and that her work on polio vaccination had ‘safeguarded millions’ around the world.
Not content with preventing global epidemics, Superwoman has rescued the government finances. During her time in office, she made the Treasury 34 times stronger. This revelation came from Sir Patrick McLoughlin, a portly soul who looks like a butcher and probably keeps quite a few of them in business.
‘When we first joined the government in 2010,’ he said, ‘for every four pounds we spent we were borrowing one. Now we borrow a pound for every 34 pounds spent.’
Jeremy Corbyn attacked her for leaving the country in ruins, (according to him). She hit back with her final words to him from the despatch box:
‘As a party leader who has accepted when her time is up, perhaps the time is now for him to do the same.’
She made one minor blunder. Ruth Cadbury asked how glad she was that her successor had ‘demonised Muslims, chucked public servants under a bus and is preparing to sell us out to Donald Trump and his friends’.
‘I’m glad to hand over to a man I worked with when he was in my cabinet …’
She paused, giving opposition MPs a chance to lob in jibes about Boris’s resignation.
Doom-and-gloom fanatic Yvette Cooper addressed the house in funereal terms.
‘I’m fearful about her successor,’ she fretted. And she urged May to kick up an almighty fuss over the ‘security threats’ if we leave the EU without a deal. (Memo to Cooper, the EU and Nato aren’t the same).
The SNP’s Ian Blackford made a gracious speech about Ian Blackford. He praised the PM for always inviting him to national security briefings and for recognising his gravitas and stature. At the end, however, he ungallantly failed to rise as Superwoman left the chamber.
All the Tories were on their feet, clapping hard as she departed. One or two Blairites followed suit. But Labour’s front bench team hunched on their seats in sulky silence.
And there she goes. To judge from today’s session, Superwoman is simply a victim of her own popularity. Such is the level of interest in her political views that her supporters want her to write her memoirs.