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When Boris Johnson received notification from Buckingham Palace of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh while working at 10 Downing Street on Friday, one of his first acts was to pick up the phone and call his rival for power Sir Keir Starmer.

The death of a much loved and respected national figure like Prince Philip presents a dilemma for politicians, but it is a dilemma that few in the mainstream parties have difficulty in resolving.

No matter what the heated debates underway or the election battles raging, all but a handful recognise instantly that normal political hostilities are not appropriate at a time of national mourning. Even if they personally want to remain in the fray, there is a strong awareness that voters will punish anyone failing to show the necessary respect.

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