Strictly PMQs

It’s a rare breed of masochist that looks forward to PMQs in the May-Corbyn era, after 45 minutes trapped in the purgatory of the BBC’s new Chuka Umunna Show Politics Live show, the prospect of Corbyn chuntering out pre-scripted lines on the NHS for social media clips interspersed by “Wales” from Theresa May suddenly started to look like a more appealing prospect. Would Jezza be leading us through the pearly gates or down into a fresh circle of PMQs hell?

Unfortunately it quickly became clear that the bearded saviour was intent on taking his followers to a new level of tedium, although he did at least succeed on targeting the PM’s major weak spot on Brexit, rather than majoring on the under-resourcing of jam-growing allotment keepers as per usual. Corbyn asked his questions with all the passion of someone telling a bedtime story to a grandchild they don’t like, while May responded with as much enthusiasm as you can expect for someone saying “deliver on the will of the British people” and “leave the single market, come out of the Common Agricultural Policy, come out of the Common Fisheries Policy…” for the 17,326th time in two months. This version of PMQs hell is more Sisyphus than Satan…

Who would end up dancing with the devil this time? Corbyn informed May that she couldn’t “keep dancing around all the issues”, succeeding in raising some weak laughs from his backbenchers. Perhaps he should have offered her some lessons as it was rapidly becoming akin to an episode of Strictly Corb Dancing than Maybot Wars. Corbyn’s sole acknowledgement of the anti-Semitism scandal continuing to engulf his party was to trot out his old refrain of condemning racism “in any form”. Matters only got worse for him when PMQs waltzed straight into May’s emergency statement on the Novichok poisonings, where Corbyn seemed to be on a mission to see how long he could speak for without mentioning the R-word. Perhaps he had a bet on with Seumas. After several minutes he finally dropped the R-bomb – only to ask May whether she was trying to get the Russian government to cooperate on handing over the two suspects. May would have more luck becoming the prima ballerina with the Bolshoi ballet…

Labour’s Tonia Antoniazzi chipped in with a question about when medical marijuana was going to be made available to “desperate” people around the country. After today’s PMQs showing there will have been quite a few of those in the Commons chamber. As the post-PMQs lights came up and the dance floor cleared Guido wondered, what had happened to the annoying DJ, the usually bellowing Bercow? Although video footage appeared to suggest he was still in the chair, the absence of a two-minute soliloquy in the middle of one of the leaders’ speeches made it hard to be sure. We were in a sort of PMQs heaven, with angels dancing on pinheads…




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No prizes for guessing who Andrea Leadsom is talking about:

“As you said last week, Mr Speaker, we have a responsibility to safeguard the rights of this House and as Leader of the House I seek to do exactly that, treating all members of parliament with courtesy and respect. I hope and expect all Honourable and Right Honourable members to do likewise.”

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