“Hasta la vista, baby,” the Prime Minister said, but held no gun, and pulled no trigger. In Boris Johnson’s remake of the film, a slightly longer period will elapse between the words and the shot.
Tory MPs rose to applaud him. Only one figure on his side of the House remained seated. Theresa May perhaps disapproves, as all good parliamentarians do, of the innovation of clapping.
At length, with extreme reluctance, she rose to her feet and gave a listless clap or two, before letting her hands fall silent. How impenitent the Prime Minister sounded, and of this too she must disapprove.
Here is a man who leaves Downing Street undefeated at the polls and in no mood to concede defeat. No tears were shed during this bravura display. “Mission accomplished – for now,” as he put it.
The Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, began by wishing “him and his family all the best for the future”, and by urging MPs to concentrate on “issues and policies rather than personalities”.
Vain hope, when such an outsized personality was about to leave the stage. Some continued to boo him, which was as it should be. Johnson delights the pit by infuriating the prigs.
Sir Keir Starmer brought himself to “wish him, his wife and his family the best for the future”, before trying to discomfort him by quoting various disobliging things said by the Tory leadership contenders.
“I’m not following this thing particularly clearly,” Johnson replied in his most satirical manner, but added that any one of the contenders “like a household detergent, would wipe the floor” with Sir Keir.
One recalled Tony Blair saying that Gordon Brown’s “great clunking fist” would prove too much for the Conservatives. This prediction was wrong, and so, quite possibly, will Johnson’s prove.
He called Sir Keir “a great pointless human bollard”, like “the plastic bollards found round the roadworks on the motorway”.
Sir Ed Davey, for the Liberal Democrats, sought to raise the tone by asking a convoluted question which began with Shakespeare and ended in a call for a general election.
Johnson compared Sir Ed to Polonius and asked for “more matter with less art”.
“It’s not Twitter that counts,” Johnson added, when offering some final words of advice. His personality is, he demonstrated, intact. Short of saying “I’ll be back” the outgoing PM could not have made himself clearer.