HENRY DEEDES: From Liberace's boudoir, came the PM's dread word – But

HENRY DEEDES: Beaming in from Liberace’s boudoir, came Boris Johnson’s dread word – ‘But…’

On skipped the Prime Minister, with that mild jauntiness of his that has happily returned in recent weeks, confirming our long winter imprisonment is finally coming to an end.

Ladies and gents, we are on the cusp of step two. Liberty awaits. Come next Monday, beer pumps will once again swill with the heartening gush of amber nectar; hairdressers – hurrah! – can resume inquiries as to where we’re going for our holidays (nowhere at the moment, guv).

Nail bars too will be free to cut customers’ cuticles and apply their shiny lacquer. Priti Patel will be pleased. Been a while since those claws had a good sharpenin’.

‘But…’ Boris intoned, the voice dropping a cautionary half-octave. The shoulders hunched, the head drooped.

On skipped the Prime Minister confirming our long winter imprisonment is finally coming to an end

Ah. Always a ‘but’ in Bojo’s stuttering race for freedom. ‘We can’t be complacent,’ he urged. We are being encouraged to have twice-weekly tests to keep the Covid menace at bay. 

At that rate, come autumn, we’ll all have had more time dealing with lab results than dodgy Soviet weightlifters.

And so back we were in Downing Street’s spanking new briefing room, that eerie, bright-blue creation which could double as Liberace’s boudoir. 

Being a bank holiday, the likes of Tony Blair or David Cameron might have opted for something a little more casual but Boris mercifully donned a suit. Wise. From what we’ve previously seen of his beanie-and-shorts weekend wardrobe.

Still, what a slighter figure he is. The suit is so loose it hangs off him like a kimono. Certainly no choccie eggs for him over the weekend.

If he carries on like this, our blessed cheesemakers will have to issue profit warnings. But that Vicky Pollard hairdo! Yeah, but, no, Bozza!

Beside the PM were his stalwart old support act, Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance. Whitty stood bolt-upright and motionless. For a moment I thought someone had propped a cardboard cut out of him at the lectern.

Perhaps he was practising his pose for when he goes to the Palace to collect his knighthood: recent reports claim it’s in the bag.

The suit is so loose it hangs off him like a kimono – certainly no choccie eggs for him over the weekend

Soon it was time for the usual next-slide-please stuff. Yawn. Up until then, it had been a sprightly sort of press conference. So trust old glum bucket Whitty to bring us all crashing back down to earth.

He reminded us Covid would cause us ‘significant problems for the foreseeable future’. Groan. Smoothy-chops Vallance didn’t add anything. Possibly had an outdoor dinner engagement to get to. Or perhaps Whitty had simply infected him with his gloom.

Someone called Catherine was keen to know when old folk would be allowed to visit beer gardens. She was asking on behalf of her 94-year-old grandmother. What a gal Cat’s granny must be! Boris mentioned he too was keen to get down the boozer as soon as possible and ‘cautiously’ raise a pint to his lips.

The Prime Minister in a beer garden surrounded by beery revellers? That’ll be a fun trip for his security detail.

Much of the media questions focused on vaccine passports. Boris preferred to call them ‘Covid Status Certificates’. 

Yeah, like we’re ever gonna do that.

Just before leaving, he managed a dig at London Mayor Sadiq Khan for squandering Transport for London’s finances. Well, the mayoral elections are coming up.

And with that, it was back to the residence for an appetising vegan dinner.

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