This week saw a return of the party leaders following an extremely eventful recess. Kashif Taher reports.
The Prime Minister’s researchers won this one. With many commentators arguing that this was Corbyn’s strongest PMQs performance so far, it is clear that Corbyn’s questions have become much better structured and well timed. However, strong statistics reeled off by the Prime Minister revealed the seemingly substantial efforts made by the government to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion. The Prime Minister was able to defend his record by playing his hugely successful parliamentary card: “…things which didn’t happen under Labour”
Issue of the week
The UK hit peak Panama Papers on Friday and what we saw today is some overspill. While the Prime Minister has fought back strongly against allegations he personally profited from tax avoidance, being seen as out of touch with the lives of ordinary Brits remains a problem for the Prime Minister. Cuts to HMRC staff are bound to crop up again in Labour questions given new European rules which aim to bring more transparency to offshore tax arrangements.
Joke of the week
The PM claimed Corbyn’s tax forms were a metaphor for Labour economic policy: “Late, chaotic, inaccurate and uncosted.”
After Corbyn insinuated that he paid more in tax than the Chancellor’s family firm did in corporation tax last year, Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle stole the limelight by loudly challenging the government to explain why the Chancellor was missing from PMQs. Eagle has been named as a possible successor to Corbyn and her case for doing so grows with each appearance.
Accumulating lots of mentions this PMQs, Mossack Fonseca will surely appreciate the free publicity the British press has given them over the past week. If the Panamanian police hadn’t raided their TVs this morning, perhaps they might have caught a glimpse of PMQs too.
All parties were less boisterous this morning. The news of individual tragic constituent deaths in many questions led to a relatively sombre session in the chamber.
In 140 characters
After one of his most difficult weeks, the PM comes out fighting and regains composure. Now he can focus back on Tory civil war.