Simon Clarke had just made his debut at the dispatchbox and was already the new boy in the Treasury.

How they laughed. There was hootering and hollering, as well as much slapping. Even Mr Speaker rocked back on his chair and clapped both his hands.

Such a reception would normally be cause to cheer for a jittery minister trying to make his mark.

The problem for Treasury minister Clarke was that the chamber was laughing with him, rather than at him.

He was answering an urgent question on the loose-lipped pre Budget briefings that had been ongoing all week. 

Simon Clarke was minutes into his first big appearance at the dispatch box and already the new boy of the Treasury had the House bent over double, writes HENRY DEEDES

Simon Clarke had just made his first appearance at dispatch box, and the new boy in the Treasury had the House bent over two times, writes HENRY DEDES

The Treasury’s been leakier than a busted colander, squirting out details on what to expect today right up to what type of chocolate Rishi Sunak plans to nibble on.

Surprise is that tongue-wagging mandarins have yet to tell us which colour skimpies the Chancellor will wear.

Clarke didn’t know about this, though. Goodness, no. With the haughty, butter-wouldn’t-melt innocence of a cherub-cheeked princeling, he loftily informed the House: ‘I will not comment on leaks.’

The hysterical eruption ensues. Even some of Clarke’s fellow Tory MPs howled like a pack of crazed coyotes. Poor Clarke. It was not his fault. Barely has he ever had the opportunity to unpack his calculator in the Treasury and here was he covering for the Chancellor.

Some newbies might have been tempted remind the Chamber of this fact. Instead, he did the only thing he could – stood tall and accepted every rotten cabbage bunged at him.

Incidentally, standing tall is one thing Clarke – at 6ft 7in – does well. Clarke could be a superstar in the NBA if he didn’t have his wonky glasses. 

The Commons erupts with laughter as Treasury minister Simon Clarke tells Desmond Swayne (pictured) he will 'not comment on leaks'

The Commons burst into laughter when Desmond Swayne, Treasury minister, hears Simon Clarke (pictured) that he won’t comment on leaks

Boris claimed that he sent Rishi (5ft 6in), to make him feel more like a titch. 

Clarke’s tone was apologetic without ever issuing an apology. He made a lot of noise about communicating with the public about their money and insisted that no restrictions from the Budget embargo had ever been broken.

‘That’s a matter of judgment!’ yelled Sir Lindsay Hoyle, pictured below, who has made his furious feelings known about the Whitehall seepage.

The anger spread to Clarke’s own benches. John Redwood (Conservative Wokingham) reiterated that Budget secrecy was essential.

Labour’s benches welcomed Mr Redwood’s remarks. This is not something we often see. Jake Berry (Con, Rossendale) wondered if we could expect to hear anything today which hadn’t already been reported. 

Clarke assured him that there would be many more rabbits in hats. ‘Just watch Sky TV tomorrow!’ cried Sir Lindsay. More laughter.

Angela Eagle (Lab Wallasey), was the one who made the most combustible interventions. Ms Eagle speaks normally with the enthusiasm of an announcer for British Rail, just as she is about to retire. Yesterday she was snarling. ‘Contempt!’, she yelled. ‘Ashamed …apologise!’

¿That¿s a matter of judgment!¿ yelled Sir Lindsay Hoyle, pictured, who has made his furious feelings known about the Whitehall seepage

‘That’s a matter of judgment!’ yelled Sir Lindsay Hoyle, pictured, who has made his furious feelings known about the Whitehall seepage

Clarke found a rare opportunity to make a joke. ‘As a former Treasury Minister herself, I’m sure she would never have engaged in any activity of this kind,’ he said.

Ms Eagle’s humour tends to be quite selective. Yesterday was no exception. She rarely sees much humor in anything. ‘No!’ she screamed. ‘Shameful!’

It took Sir Lindsay 40 minutes before Clarke was finally allowed to continue his journey. American frat house applicants are subject to less sadistic initations. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss made her debut at Foreign Office Questions.

Ms. Truss is a Minister on The Move, even though it sounds like a 1970s promo film. It seems like a week goes by without her appearing in a photo shoot. What’s more, she’s upped her social media game and is debuting a jaunty new haircut.

Despite all her pomp, she lacks authority. If she had been watching her yesterday, someone unfamiliar with politics would not have been able to identify her as the senior minister of her department.

This is not an issue Priti Patel would ever have. Rishi Sunak, for that matter. The latter remains the King in Waiting but let’s see how today’s Budget fares. It feels like it could be a moment.