Sheer pandemonium in the Commons yesterday – of the sort usually reserved for last-gasp Wembley equalisers. The feeling is familiar to Footie enthusiasts: a back-of the-net, injury-time roar followed immediately by long exhales. Finally, a gentle tapping on the chest ensures that the ticker’s still ticking.

Yesterday, that was how the Conservative benches felt when Rishi Sonak revealed his sneaky change to the next month’s blundering national insurance increase.

It was obvious that the relief felt among Tory benches. The relief among Tory benches was palpable. Members stooped and waved the order papers. Jacob Young (Conservative, Redcar), raked his hair with his fingers and double-punched his air.

Therese Coffeey, Work and Pensions Secretary, gave a mechanical, slow nod to the head while seated on the frontbenches.

Parliament of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivering his Spring Statement in the House of Commons

Rishi Sunak (Parliament of Chancellor of Exchequer) delivers the Spring Statement in House of Commons

This is the equivalent to a standing quadruple flip in Coffeyland where everything moves a little slower.

This caught Rachel Reeves, shadow chancellor, on the jump and forced her to make a quick rewrite.

‘Cheer up, Rachel!’ One person questioned her as the script became a swirling mass of red ink.

The Chancellor’s Spring Statement announcement was a rare treat from a theatrical perspective. It had been a genuine surprise. These briefings have been robbed of any tension and the majority of information announced at the event on that day is stale.

This time, not. Perhaps Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle had gathered leaky Treasury officials to read the Riot Act.

Sunak reached the Commons earlier than expected. He and his entourage were there just two hours prior to the start of the on. He was well-dressed and wearing his standard thigh hugging suit.

Those trousers are tight! These trousers made Olivia Newton-John’s tiny black pants in Grease seem like tracksuit bottoms.

In truth, he seemed so small as he sat in the Chamber that I truly thought he was going to be swallowed whole by the Prime Minster’s left armpit.

Boris is, unfortunately, back at the cheese station.

Notice to Downing Street housekeepers – it could be time to lock the pantry at night. Rishi began by talking about the horrific events in Ukraine. Rishi spoke about children and women huddled together in basements, seeking refuge from Putin’s bombs.

He insisted that the government’s sanctions worked.

“Not enough!” Chris Bryant (Lab Rhondda) parped.

‘Ssssh!’ The Tory MPs chanted, Bryant looked at the sky, unsentimental. Bryant clearly believed his contribution was valuable.

The chewy gristle was soon upon us. The economic outlook for Britain remained dark.

High inflation, low growth Debt interest payments, we learnt, would hit £83billion this year. This figure was so shocking that an elderly boy in the gallery near us nearly choked from his dentures.

From a theatrical point of view, the Chancellor¿s announcement had produced a very rare thing for a Spring Statement: genuine surprise writes HENRY DEEDES

Dramatically, the announcement of the Chancellor had brought out something very special for Spring Statements: genuine surprise wrote HENRY DEDES

The delivery of the Chancellor was sharp and precise as always. Energetic, too. He is a natural entertainer, unlike his boring predecessors.

Like a game show host, he announced that fuel duty would be cut ‘Not by 1p… not even by 2p… but by 5p per litre!’ When he came to his big national insurance announcement, Rishi informed the House his original plan had been to raise the threshold by £300.

He said “But I don’t want to do that,” almost as if he was about to give away a fake cheque. For the full effect, pause.

‘I am going to increase it by the full £3,000!’

Although it is a little too self-indulgent, Philip Hammond’s droning on about the subject makes me feel better.

Even though the announcement about national insurance was an immediate hit, the promise that the basic rate for income tax would be reduced from 20p to 19.p in time before the next election seemed oddly hollow.

Rishi’s slightly jumbled delivery might have fooled some.

Or possibly it felt more like an ambition than a pledge – and anyway, the man has hiked taxes more than any other Chancellor in recent history.

Miss Reeves was asked to respond and it quickly became clear that Miss Reeves had prepared some wisecracks. The kitchen-averse hostess announced that she had tried making souffle. It felt like a start to a dinner party. Rachel made the gags and they all fell apart in exactly the same manner.

Rishi was Ted Heath’s ‘Ted Heath’ with an Instagram profile. Eh? Next, there was an extended attempt to find parallels between Rishi’s statements and Alice in Wonderland. Reeves called it ‘Alice In Sunak-land.

Boris looked puzzled at his backbenchers and said, ‘What are they on about?

Steve Reed, shadow justice minister, was the only one who laughed at Rachel’s jokes. He repeatedly stomped his legs in delight. This loyalty ought to get him far.

Rishi looked at his phone in silence.

No doubt, he is still processing the terrifying numbers he has to compile.