FINDING myself in the press gallery lift with Team Angela Eagle I felt as though I’d stumbled on a funeral procession for a political death that hadn’t even happened yet.
Jeremy Corbyn was away, so shadow first secretary of state Angela Eagle was stepping up to seal her fate at the despatch box at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Her team were rightly nervous as David Cameron was in Europe, and instead she had to take on Chancellor George Osborne, who it’s understood won debating trophies while still in nappies.
But just when you thought Labour and the ‘new politics’ was about to hand another embarassing moment to the Tories on a platter, out of their back pocket came the most welcome surprise.
Bridlington-born Ms Eagle is funny, witty, asks decent questions and left the Chancellor baffled, something Mr Corbyn rarely achieves.
“I see that the Prime Minister can’t be with us to answer questions today because he’s visiting Poland and Romania on his ‘seemingly endless European renegotiation tour’. He’s been jetting all over the place, no wonder we had to buy him his own airplane. Can the Chancellor tell us please, how’s it all going?”
Mr Osborne replied like a petulent child that at least they had a party leader respected abroad.
Strike two: she embarassed him by referring to a letter from Donald Tusk, President of the EU Council, which said EU renegotiation plans are destabilising.
Mr Osborne quoted Tony Blair, who had described the Labour party as a ‘tragedy’.
Strike three: “I prefer this quote from Tony,” she said.
“Five more Tory years and you feel your senses and reason replused by what they’ve done to this country.”
Team Angela Eagle’s prearranged funeral tea swiftly turned into an early office Christmas party.