Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer seemed to hide their ‘inward sparring’ by appearing to be ‘collusive and chummy’ as they attended the Queen’s Speech today, a body language expert has claimed.
It was first meeting of the party leaders since Sir Keir vowed to resign if he is fined by Durham Police for breaking lockdown rules.
Mr Johnson and Sir Keir have clashed bitterly over Partygate, Beergate and other issues yet appeared in good spirits as they shared a joke while walking from the Commons chamber to hear the speech in the Lords.
The PM did reference the furore engulfing the Labour leader, however, quipping: ‘Did you have a good weekend?’
Speaking to MailOnline, body language expert Judi James explained: ‘With the ‘Oil and Water’ distancing between these two party leaders thanks to Starmer’s self-defining ‘Honour and Integrity’ speech yesterday it would have been unsurprising if Johnson and Starmer had opted for a perma-frost coated ‘cut and ignore’ ritual during their walk together into the chamber to hear the Queen’s speech.
Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer appeared to bury their enmity and were ‘chummy and collusive’ as they attended the State Opening of Parliament, according to body language expert Judi James
Judi James said: ‘Starmer clearly decided that being honourable included being magnanimous though as it appeared to be him sparking the conversation that then continued until they got into the chamber’
‘Nothing could have topped Corbyn’s body language at his last Queen’s Speech when he treated Johnson like Voldemort, turning his head away at an alarming angle with an expression of disgust rather than speak or even look at his rival, but when Starmer walked to join Johnson it did look for a few moments as though their journey might be spent in awkward silence.
‘Starmer clearly decided that being honourable included being magnanimous though as it appeared to be him sparking the conversation that then continued until they got into the chamber.
‘Initially Boris seemed to treat it like a race, setting off at a fast pace and creating a gap between himself and Kier but by the time they were in full view of the cameras Starmer was gesticulating to Johnson in a collusive, chummy way and both were smiling what looked like warm, congruent, eye-wrinkling smiles.
‘Starmer even laughed and their mirrored smiles that even included a non-hostile display of teeth from Starmer remained in place.
‘There is an unspoken rule in political body language rituals that the one doing the gesticulation when two leaders walk and talk is the one looking more dominant and that power-play could have been behind Starmer’s first gesture but otherwise it was hard to find any signs that these two were inwardly sparring with clenched teeth.
‘Given the last few days this was a surprise bordering on a shock.
‘Hopefully Prince William was watching their techniques closely before his next hook-up with his brother Harry during the jubilee celebrations.’
Away from his exchange with Sir Keir, Mr Johnson warned he cannot protect Brits from cost-of-living misery today as he unveiled Queen’s Speech measures to get back on track after Partygate and disastrous local elections – including a crackdown on eco ‘hooligans’, a Levelling Up drive and a Brexit red tape bonfire.
As the legislative agenda for the new Parliament was announced, the PM said that the government will do ‘whatever we can to ease the burdens people are grappling with’.
They body language expert added: ‘It was hard to find any signs that these two were inwardly sparring with clenched teeth’
Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer have clashed bitterly over Partygate, Beergate and other issues – but appeared to share a joke as they walked from the Commons chamber to hear the speech in the Lords
But despite growing demands for action as inflation surges towards 10 per cent and the economy stalls, Mr Johnson pointed to the existing £22billion package of help, and insisted he would make long-term investments rather than try to ease the immediate pain.
The approach was underlined by the absence of any fresh measures in the package of proposed laws – although minister have carefully refused to rule out an emergency Budget before the Autumn.
Instead the Parliamentary session – being kicked off by Prince Charles rather than the Queen for the first time in six decades as she is suffering ‘mobility issues’ – focuses on broad reforms with a smattering of crowd-pleasing policies such as bolstering police powers to tackle disruptive protests.
Schools and higher education are being overhauled to help the post-Covid recovery, while owners of unused second homes are expected to be punished, and locals given more power over housing developments.
There is also action to revive high streets, a shake-up to create Great British Railways, and a vehicle for the controversial privatisation of Channel 4 – as well as steps to ensure ‘woke’ attitudes do not hamper free speech at universities.