Boris Johnson And Keir Starmer Exchange A Rare Moment Of Friendliness – And Become Immortalised In A Meme

"When you bump into your ex's new boyfriend," one person quipped.
Starmer and Johnson appeared on friendly terms when attending the State Opening of Parliament together
Starmer and Johnson appeared on friendly terms when attending the State Opening of Parliament together
YUI MOK via Getty Images

Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer were caught smiling at one another in a rare – and surprising – moment on Tuesday.

The prime minister and the leader of the opposition are rarely seen together away from PMQs, where they furiously take down one another’s arguments.

This time, however, they were caught on camera chatting causally while on their way to listen to the Queen’s Speech for the State Opening of Parliament.

The BBC’s commentators even noticed the incident during the live footage, with presenter Huw Edwards pointing out: “That was a little more jolly than I would have expected really.”

The friendliness is particularly remarkable because both Starmer and Johnson are currently under police investigation for potentially breaching Covid lockdown rules at different events.

Starmer was one of the most vocal critics about Johnson’s involvement in partygate – the series of gatherings said to have taken place in Downing Street throughout the pandemic – only for the Tories to then push for a new probe into the Labour leader’s own supposed rule-breaking one night last year.

Starmer then announced on Monday that he would resign from his position if the police did fine him for breaching social distancing rules in the so-called beergate row.

In turn, this has put pressure on the prime minister. He has already been fined once for attending his own birthday party in June 2020, and could face an additional three fines for other Downing Street events, but he is refusing to resign.

Johnson has also triggered controversy in the past through his personal attacks on the Labour leader, and even falsely blamed Starmer for not prosecuting Jimmy Savile when he was director of public prosecutions.

Despite all of this tension in the background and the two opponents’ careers potentially hanging on a thread, the men chatted with relative ease as they walked from the House of Commons to the House of Lords this morning.

Twitter didn’t wait long to turn it into a meme though, with users sharing takes on what it was really like between the two politicians in that moment.

The two party leaders weren’t the only ones who were ridiculed for their role in the State Opening of Parliament either.

Prince Charles, who was filling in for the Queen today, was mocked for his sombre delivery of the Queen’s Speech – and his rather unamused expression.


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