Normally, when a prime minister faces Parliament for the final time, the last colleague the Speaker calls to speak before the PM's valedictory remarks is the Father of the House. When Theresa May resigned, the Speaker called both the Father and also the Mother of the House to speak on the significance of her being only the second woman in the role, and the first in a generation.
Yet today, when Boris Johnson faced the house for what is presumably his final time as PM, the last question when to Sir Edward Leigh, rather than to Sir Peter Bottomley, who I believe is the incumbent Father of the House. Certainly, the Speaker did not call upon him as "The Father of the House," which would usually be the case if he were.
Does anyone know why (or has an informed speculation as to why) it was Sir Edward rather that Sir Peter? True, he was opposed to Brexit, but political difference have never prevented this particular ritual that I can recall.
I did note that, unsurprisingly but nonetheless sadly, the current political atmosphere and the controversial nature of this PM (and probably the hot weather as well) seemed to make this leave-taking different previous ones, including Sir Tony Blair, who was certainly not beloved my many in the House at the end. The leader of the HM Opposition managed to be gracious if brief, just noting that their relationship had been uneasy but he wished the PM, his wife, and family well in the future. The leader of the SNP did not even mention the PM's imminent departure, which judging from the shouts of fellow members did not pass unnoticed by those present. Sir Edward's statement was exceptionally political for the occasion and was accompanied, not unreasonably, but the shouting from the opposition benches one would expect.
I fully understand the contempt so many of his colleagues and compatriots have for Mr. Johnson, and I really do not think this is the forum to discuss either politics or policy. I simply raise this to ask about the *ritual* element, particularly the abstention of the Father of the House from playing his traditional role in it.
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