A glorious moment on Newsnight, as Labour’s merrily gaffe-prone mouthpiece Barry Gardiner patted his former colleague’s arm during an interview.
The shadow international trade secretary patted and squeezed ex-Labour MP and Independent Group founder Chuka Umunna’s wrist, as he tried to persuade the presenter that his breakaway had not pushed Labour into changing its Brexit policy.
“It was this lot who scared you, though,” Emily Maitlis mooted, pointing to Umunna.
“No no no, nooo, no,” Gardiner retorted. “Don’t give me that.”
Then he executed the fateful reach-and-grab, his flapping left hand landing on Umunna’s wrist, giving a pat and a small squeeze that froze the atmosphere into an eternal winter.
“Nice man though he may be, don’t give him – no, absolutely not, absolutely not,” Gardiner protested.
With an almost curious disdain, Umunna looked slowly down at his wrist where Gardiner’s offending hand had been placed, head bowed for a quietly enraged moment, and then silently stared back at Gardiner while leaning subtly further back in his chair.
Such anger, so little left to say. A visual representation of Labour’s irreconcilable divide. A patronising pat goodbye to old loyalties, followed up with an icy stare.
Watch it here:
And for the full drama, watch Mikey Smith of the Mirror’s doctored version:
— Mikey Smith (@mikeysmith) February 26, 2019