The boyband from Heaven’s waiting room – together at last

The less said about Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's section the better
The less said about Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's section the better - Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Well, what a treat we had this evening, readers. Ed Davey, Keir Starmer, Rishi Sunak – the boyband nobody wanted. The sort of thing they probably play in the Dignitas waiting room. But don’t worry, John Swinney was there to liven things up a bit!

Facing the general public first was Sir Ed Davey. He couldn’t avoid them forever no matter how many water slides he went on. “The Lib Dems are planning to spend five times as much as the Labour Party” asked the first questioner. “Aren’t you going to bankrupt the country?” “Thank you for your question, Alison,” said Sir Ed, through gritted teeth. He insisted the proposals were “fully costed”. “This pie is fully sky-worthy!” he might as well have blustered.

Were his paddle-boarding antics really “prime-ministerial”, asked another questioner. Sir Ed gulped. “On the day I went down that slide we were putting forward a very serious policy.” Of course, famously Neville Chamberlain announced we were at war with Germany from the teacup ride at Legoland, so fair play.

Ed Davey probably wished he was back on a waterslide
Ed Davey probably wished he was back on a waterslide - Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

“Are you proud of your conduct as Post Office minister?” came the dread-question at the end. Davey wriggled like a piglet at a disco. That waterslide had never looked so inviting.

Next up, SNP leader John Swinney. The Caledonian undertaker. Private Fraser from Dad’s Army but given control of a massive budget. Except it was less a case of “we’re doomed!” (which if the polls are to be believed, they are) and more a “don’t panic” from Edinburgh’s least charismatic bank manager.

However, as Shakira almost sang, those hip-replacement stats don’t lie: 7,000 people were waiting for surgery in Scotland’s devolved NHS compared to 300 in England. When Fiona Bruce purred this at him, he dissolved into a pool of purest grey. Apparently, the solution is more taxes. Who’da thunk…!

Another questioner asked whether the SNP would “keep demanding a referendum until you get the result you want”. (Bears, woods and the religious affiliation of the Pope sprang to mind.) Duly skewered by Fiona the Bruce, we moved onto Sir Keir Starmer.

Hilariously, the first question was probably the one Sir Keir least wanted: Jeremy Corbyn. The nutty uncle who just won’t go away was back. “Did you think he’d make a great prime minister?” an inconvenient member of the public asked. Sir Keir scowled. “I didn’t think we were in a position to win that election,” “That’s not an answer,” snapped Fiona.

Sir Keir pledged to bring immigration numbers down “significantly”, but refused to give a target. Who needs an actual number when a multisyllabic word will do? Otherwise his approach was one seasoned Westminster observers know well; waffle, waffle and bore the public into submission.

Still, it was all worth it for one moment; Starmer’s face when he realised it was the cervix question was a picture.

The less said about the Prime Minister the better: questions on betting and Liz Truss: it was live-streamed slaughter.

Was there a winner? Undoubtedly anyone wise enough to stick with the football.