And that’s a wrap. In the final showdown before #GE2017, Alice Hawken watched PMQs so you don’t have to…
Issue of the Week
Today’s PMQs was the final showdown between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition before the electorate heads to the polls in 43 days. A lengthy session – nearly an hour long – meant there was plenty of time to cover a range of issues such as defence, the NHS and social care, pensions and housing. With the polls showing a 20-plus point lead for the Conservatives and Theresa May as the most popular Prime Minister in 40 years, this could well be the last time the duo face off.
PMQs was election-slogan heavy today, with the Prime Minister relying on her “strong and stable” mantra throughout. Jeremy Corbyn, perhaps feeling nostalgic, returned to his tried and tested format of reading questions submitted by members of the public. Christopher, Andy, Laura, Maureen and Sybil featured this week – using their letters to criticise Tory policy on housing, schools and pensions.
The Prime Minister reeled off some quick wins, attacking Labour’s record on defence, the economy and tax rises. May also used this opportunity to exploit the Corbyn myth-busting website “I like Corbyn But…” adding her own stinger “I’ve heard he’s a terrorist sympathiser”. Following the website’s name drop in PMQs, the page has been disabled by its creators.
With his Moray seat a top Tory target, some pundits have predicted this could be Angus Robertson’s last appearance at PMQs. Robertson once again proved why he has won plaudits as a formidable force in the Chamber, more able to effectively use his two questions than Corbyn’s six, pressing May to clarify her commitment on triple lock pensions.
After a difficult start to Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron’s election campaign, he managed to squeeze in a nice soundbite, telling the Prime Minister her party has ‘never been nastier’. However, his triumph was short lived, as May was quick to point out the Lib Dems had selected controversial former MP David Ward as a candidate for Bradford East. Following this exchange, it was reported that Ward has now been barred from standing in the General Election.
Overall today’s PMQs was all heat and no light – making picking a winner a difficult task. Pagefield will leave this one to the voters and await the result on the 9th of June.
Undoubtedly the Tories – however, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry gave them a run for their money when she was caught shouting ‘Shame, Shame!’ at the bench opposite.
Nestlé announced yesterday they will be axing 300 jobs in York and Newcastle over the next two years. The Prime Minister told York MP Rachel Maskell that Secretary of State Greg Clark was meeting with Nestlé this afternoon to discuss the organisation’s plans.
Mike Wood MP (Conservative, Dudley South) received a warm welcome back to the House after he almost died earlier in the year from sepsis. Wood used the opportunity to call on the Prime Minister to look at measures which could be taken to reduce deaths from sepsis and raise awareness of the condition.
In a fiery PMQs today the jokes were few and far between. Setting the tone for a fierce campaign, it’s clear the road ahead is no laughing matter…