This week, the papers have been dominated by Brexit, the prospect of another Scottish referendum and fall-out from the Budget. Ironically, all issues that have proven tricky for both party leaders.
That said, one would hope Corbyn and his team were prepared to attack the Prime Minister on her proposed changes to National Insurance – a broken manifesto commitment. Cue a well-timed climb-down by the Chancellor fifteen minutes before PMQs and a now visibly underprepared Leader of the Opposition.
Improvisation has never been Corbyn’s strong point and, in respect of his inability to convert a goal scoring opportunity, we bring you a special edition of PMQs to speculate on what could’ve been…
|What Corbyn said…||What he could have said...|
|Big business evades a lot of national insurance through bogus self-employment.||Mr Speaker, in the past week we have seen the Chancellor break a manifesto commitment, the Prime Minister support it, then delay it and now send the Chancellor back out to scrap it. The previous lady wasn’t for turning, why has she?|
|What is she going to do to fill that Budget black hole?||Mr Speaker, it looks like the Chancellor was forced out today to avoid the very fate he described of Lord Lamont last week. How does the Prime Minister now intend to pay for her Social Care promise?|
|It is a grossly unfair system where those in self-employment pay some national insurance, employers do not and benefit from it. That is a gross injustice which has to be addressed.||Mr Speaker, can she tell the House why she broke her manifesto commitment and why she chose today to notice?|
|Cuts to social care and cuts to people with disabilities. That is the agenda of her government and everybody knows it.||Mr Speaker, she may not have a mandate but that doesn’t mean she can’t take responsibility. Who noticed they’d broken a manifesto commitment, was it the Chancellor or the Prime Minister?|
|Can she say what she’s doing to help the worst off and poorest in our society rather than continuing cutting local government expenditure, schools expenditure and under funding social care.||Mr Speaker, no answer on whose fault this was, on how she’s going to pay for social care or why she broke her manifesto commitment. One last go; does she believe the proposed increase in National Insurance was wrong, unfair or simply undoable because of the manifesto?|
|What she has to do is address the issues of injustice and inequality in our society, and a government that’s dedicated to widening the gap, not helping those that are hard up, working self-employed to try and make ends meet, and not getting access to any benefits at the same time.||Mr Speaker, Budget 2017 sees a £2bn U-turn in seven days. Budget 2016 saw a £4bn U-turn in five days. It’s easy to see why the Government wants to abolish Spring Budgets - they just keep ripping them up. (Credit: Yvette Cooper MP)|