PMQs returned with a bang. In case you missed it, our newest recruit Hal has the scoop…..
Issue of the Week
The long awaited return of PMQs had a familiar feel with the debate in the House centering on inequality and corporate governance. Oddly enough for Corbyn, now reportedly a vegan, McDonalds’ was first on the menu. The Labour leader denounced the chain’s treatment of its staff citing the Chief Executive’s pay relative to the average employee. The opening exchange set the tone for the debate which touched on zero hour contracts, energy prices caps, shareholder votes on executive pay and the public sector pay cap.
It was an ordinary performance from both leaders; a state of affairs which has become rather ordinary in itself. However as is often the case with politics, the terrain of the battlefield dictates the outcome of the battle. Despite pre planned attempts to distract with quips about Trident and Labour’s economic mismanagement, the fact that issues of inequality dominated is indicative of the victor.
Corbyn also seems to have matured in his questioning style, much to the relief of his colleagues. He even snuck in a one-liner about the disappearance of the Conservative election manifesto.
Despite the topic of the debate, Conservative MPs were characteristically obstreperous, forcing Speaker John Bercow to intervene on at least two occasions. Such behaviour makes you wonder how high the noise levels will rise when they have something to cheer about.
Conservative MP for Croydon South Chris Philp, originally a ‘remainer’, railed against the European Commission’s refusal to engage in free trade talks. Describing their actions as “economic self-harm” he argued that the stance was damaging the commission’s own economic interests. Before being elected in 2015, Philp had a background in business. With Brexit creeping ever closer it may not be long before we see Philp given a Ministerial brief, with Government looking to use his entrepreneurial expertise.
In conversation with Corbyn, May suggested that her opposite number should listen to her answer instead of simply reading out a pre-prepared statement. They say hindsight is a wonderful thing.