The Daily Mail on last night’s Dominic and Boris double bill:

No Regrets: A Tragedy in Two Parts.

Owl thinks followers might enjoy reading this article from the Daily Mail:

 Dominic Cummings had come to snarl not schmooze

A double bill of Westminster drama yesterday. Statements from both Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson.

Contrition in short supply from both players. Were it a play we could have called it No Regrets: A Tragedy in Two Parts.

For Act One we were treated to Dominic Cummings’ statement on his recent lockdown controversy. News that Mr Cummings was to appear in front of the media had driven Westminster into a state of apoplexy.

The eyes did lots of distracted darting around. There were unnecessarily lengthy pauses as he spoke. Every now and again he would emit a breathy sigh of contempt.

For geeky politicos, this was a pass the popcorn moment like no other. England v Germany times one hundred. Captain Kirk wrestles Jean Luc Picard.

That the PM had decided to unleash Cummings on a baying Press pack was a high risk strategy. One might sooner place a spitting cobra in a cage full of mongooses. Sure enough, it was an indelicate affair.

A theatre reviewer with a bit of venom in his quill would have labelled Cummings’ performance a 90-minute sulky shrug of the shoulders.

The Prime Minister’s most trusted aide had come to snarl not to schmooze. The eyes did lots of distracted darting around. There were unnecessarily lengthy pauses as he spoke. Every now and again he would emit a breathy sigh of contempt.

Despite the late arrival, it was not a well-rehearsed statement. He rattled through as though he were reeling off a dictation to one of the Downing Street garden girls. Oratory was largely non-existent

Dominic Cummings: ‘I do not regret what I did’

The bucolic charms of the Downing Street rose garden was where we laid our scene. Naturally Cummings arrived late. Around half an hour he kept us all waiting.

Nothing like keeping your detractors roasting on one of the hottest days of the year. Having ditched the peculiar Rumpelstiltskin clobber, he managed to don something resembling a smart shirt.

He sat at a table opposite the waiting media as though he was there to interview them rather than the other way around. ‘Sorry I’m late…thank you for coming,’ he fibbed as he shuffled forward in his seat.

Cummings made it clear he was there under duress. The PM had forced him to come apparently. It was then we heard his story unfold.

His wife’s illness, their inability to secure childcare, how he had not wished to leave his family at home alone.

A theatre reviewer with a bit of venom in his quill would have labelled Cummings’ performance a 90-minute sulky shrug of the shoulders. The Prime Minister’s most trusted aide had come to snarl not to schmooze

Despite the late arrival, it was not a well-rehearsed statement. He rattled through as though he were reeling off a dictation to one of the Downing Street garden girls. Oratory was largely non-existent.

Throughout, we heard repeated little justifications for his behaviour. ‘I believe I made the right judgment’, ‘I behaved safely and legally’, ‘I tried to exercise caution’ etc.

Strangest moment came when he explained his visit to Barnard Castle, where a witness had spotted him strolling by the riverbank. He claimed he and his family had driven there to check his eyesight was up to driving back to London.

Not many defending silks worth their salt would feel uber-confident about entering a courtroom with that alibi under their wig.

Members of the media were momentarily summoned to a microphone as though auditioning for X Factor. ‘Hello Laura from the BBC what are you going to ask me today?’

Best grilling came from Channel 4’s Gary Gibbon who suggested members of the public would be staggered by Cummings’ refusal to acknowledge he’d broken any of the rules.

Cummings was non-plussed. Bovvered. Wrapping things up, he bade journalists goodbye, urging them all to take care. Another barefaced whopper of course.

For Act Two we were transported to where Boris Johnson was delivering the daily Press briefing.

Judging by the Spirograph twirls under his eyes, our hero did not bear the look of a man who had enjoyed a relaxing weekend by the barbecue.

Predictably, he pushed his precious boosterism button straight up and discussed plans to reopen schools in June.

For Act Two we were transported to where Boris Johnson was delivering the daily Press briefing. Judging by the Spirograph twirls under his eyes, our hero did not bear the look of a man who had enjoyed a relaxing weekend by the barbecue

There were proposals too for retail outlets to be allowed to open their doors. ‘We’re making progress,’ he insisted.

No one, of course, was interested in any of that. The BBC asked if the PM had any regrets on the Cummings affair. Boris said he regretted the confusion. ‘People can make up their own minds,’ he shrugged.

Robert Peston queried Cummings’ peculiar story about why he visited Barnard Castle.

Boris said his aide had given ‘chunkable biography’ of what had happened already. Translation: ‘Please, please ask me about something else’.

By now the PM had turned an uncomfortable shade of magenta. Yet still the Cummings questions kept coming.

Queries did at least yield one interesting fact: Boris is now wearing glasses. We look forward to seeing those.

At just after 7.30pm, the PM finally shuffled off and the curtain came down on this day of high political drama. Whether that was the end of the Cummings saga is another matter.

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