Dominic Grieve has aimed a perfect retort to the ‘girly swot’ jibe that the prime minister was revealed to have made against his predecessor David Cameron.
Grieve said that he supposed the joke found in unredacted government papers had been meant to contrast with Johnson’s own “manly idleness”.
Speaking just hours before parliament is due to be forcibly closed, the diehard Remain MP took part in a debate aimed at exposing all government communications around the decision to prorogue.
WATCH: MPs table motion to demand every piece of communication made about prorogation plansIn his contribution to the debate, Grieve pointed out that the government has changed its tune about when it first considered proroguing parliament, saying that the documents reveal thatNumber 10 was considering it at least 10 days before it first admitted.
“Indeed there is a rather remarkable memorandum from the prime minister himself in which he expresses total contentment with [prorogation] because he finds the September sitting to be an unnecessary and rather contemptible activity,” said Grieve.
It was embarrassing and “perhaps rather typical”, as Grieve put it, that Johnson had mistakenly attributed the decision to have a September sitting of parliament to Cameron, and not Tony Blair as is the case.
MORE: Boris Johnson’s court documents were redacted to conceal his schoolboy insult to CameronBut Grieve was not done with embarrassing Johnson. “It is also rather noteworthy that when we found what was under the redaction, it turned out he condemned Mr David Cameron’s belief in having a September sitting as being a ‘girly swot’.
“Which I suppose was meant to be contrasted, Mr Speaker, with his manly idleness,” he said, to gales of laughter and cries of “bravo”.
‘Manly idleness’, said Grieve, seems to be Johnson’s standard practice when facing the Brexit crisis and the necessity to forge a deal with the EU.
Grieve pointed out that the prime minister’s Brexit negotiations are non-existent.
MORE: Dominic Cummings says EU negotiations are a ‘sham’, according to high-level leaksEarlier, Grieve took aim at the MPs who supported the current “atmosphere of confrontation” that was fuelling national divisions over Brexit.
Divisions would never be healed, he said, if “the atmosphere of confrontation keeps on being ratcheted up, slowly undermining the institutions which are the only props of legitimacy … and in which everybody is happy to go into greenhouses and chuck bricks around all over the place, and expect the structure to provide some shelter afterwards.”