Labour Benches Googling “Museum Directorships Near Me”

Now that the single market and the customs union (in its current trade-deal restricting form) are out of the question, just what are the Europhiles going to moan about? One half-expected Jeremy Corbyn to start today by earnestly inquiring if the Prime Minister will keep the glorious EU flag on our driving licenses and make sure butchers don’t start selling meat in pounds and ounces to the carnivorous, Brexit-voting xenophobes of the nation. It’s a sweet irony that arch-Remainers are now in the position of nitpicking about irrelevant minutiae of the European project, a criticism traditionally reserved for veteran Eurosceptics.

In the chamber today it quickly became clear that Jez, bless him, doesn’t seem to have quite cottoned on to the implications of the PM’s speech, and so instead decided to continue his established line of questioning. “Last year the Prime Minister said that leaving the single market could make trade deals “considerably harder”” he moaned. “The Chancellor said after the referendum that to lose single market access would be “catastrophic””, he cried. Getting desperate he wailed at Theresa May about the need for “frictionless access to the single market”, before finally demanding to know “will we have to pay for access to the market or not?” May and Hammond chuckled to themselves as they sat and watched the leader of Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition valiantly flog a long dead horse.

This sort of meltdown is what happens when you force poor Jeremy to think on his feet: he malfunctions and naturally reverts to mindlessly regurgitating his standard single market moan-fest. The nadir came when the Labour leader attempted to crack a gag, “Restoring parliamentary democracy while sidelining Parliament”, Corbyn quipped, “is not so much the Iron Lady as the Irony Lady”. Dennis Skinner, surely an expert in the matter of poor political jokes, delivered his verdict in the form of a glum thousand mile stare into the middle distance. On the backbenches some Labour MPs momentarily stopped Googling “Museum Directorships near Me” and sighed in Corbyn’s general direction.

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WATCH: Corybn’s “Irony Lady” Gag Bombs at PMQs

The irony was nobody laughed…

PMQs: Who’s Asking The Questions?

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 18 January

Q2 Kirsty Blackman (Aberdeen North)

Q3 Chris Bryant (Rhondda) If she will visit the Rhondda

Q4 Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber)

Q5 Mr Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury)

Q6 Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)

Q7 Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden)

Q8 Mrs Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside)

Q9 Louise Haigh (Sheffield, Heeley)

Q10 Dr Eilidh Whiteford (Banff and Buchan)

Q11 Karl McCartney (Lincoln)

Q12 Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South)

Q13 Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch)

Q14 Richard Fuller (Bedford)

Comments in the comments…

Pressures of Ageing Population at PMQs

“Last week Mr. Speaker”, boomed Jeremy Corbyn, “four hundred and eighty five people in England spent more than twelve hours on trolleys in hospital corridors”. “SHAME!” (for once justly) heckled one backbencher. The Labour leader then inquired if the Prime Minister thought “fiddling the figures” would be the best way for her to manage such a crisis. Not a bad start at all from a newly rejuvenated Corbyn: someone clearly had a happy Kwanzaa.

Facing such a serious accusation of bureaucratic indifference to the plight of the ill, Theresa May decided to grace us with her best impression of an ill-tempered Soviet apparatchik discussing peasant fatalities after a particularly bad harvest: “There are pressures on the NHS”, she intoned stonily, “There are always extra pressures during the winter. But we have at the moment the added pressures of the ageing population and the growing complex needs of the population”. Finally solace for those serfs lying in their own filth for the best part of a day: if only their needs weren’t so complex and they weren’t so damn old then maybe they could be seen a little earlier!

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Corbyn’s PMQs Inspiration

Guido might have detected David Prescott’s turn of phrase from Corbyn today – the Labour leader now has Prezza Jnr working on his PMQs prep team and hit the PM with the archetypal Labour attack line: “Our NHS is in crisis but the Prime Minister is in denial”. A better Corbyn line was his mockery of Theresa May’s “shared society”: “More people sharing hospital corridors on trolleys”. Inspired by Morten Morland’s cartoon in today’s Times?

The BBC had a similar line on the News at Ten on Monday as well. Neither May nor Corbyn is a strong PMQs peformer, the best lines are borrowed from elsewhere. Becoming a challenge for sketch writers…

H/T @paulwaugh, @joeyfjones, @bbclaurak, half of Twitter.

First PMQs of 2017: Who’s Asking The Questions

Oral Questions to The Prime Minister

Q1 Chris Law (Dundee West) If she will list her official engagements for Wednesday 11 January.

Q2 Ian Murray (Edinburgh South)

Q3 Mark Menzies (Fylde)

Q4 Mrs Maria Miller (Basingstoke)

Q5 Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) What recent assessment she has made of the (a) performance of the economy and (b) adequacy of provision of public services in Staffordshire; and if she will make a statement.

Q6 Tracy Brabin (Batley and Spen)

Q7 Norman Lamb (North Norfolk)

Q8 Antoinette Sandbach (Eddisbury)

Q9 Richard Fuller (Bedford)

Q10 Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West)

Q11 Alan Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun)

Q12 Edward Argar (Charnwood)

Q13 John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness)

Q14 Dr James Davies (Vale of Clwyd)

Q15 Chris White (Warwick and Leamington)

Comments in the comments…

Caroline Lucas Fails to Declare Her Interest

At PMQs Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, asked the PM if she would sack Transport Secretary Chris Grayling over Southern Rail. The PM retorted that the unions are the ones responsible for the unnecessary strikes. Shouldn’t Ms Lucas have declared her £7,000 donation from the RMT?

The rules state that “it should be a matter of honour that a financial interest is declared not only .. in debate in the House and its Committees but also whenever a Member is attempting to influence his fellow Members…” Wasn’t Caroline trying to influence the PM on behalf of her RMT sponsors?

Last PMQs of Term: FFS!

Peter Dowd got PMQs kicking today when he suggested pencilling “FO” next to our glorious Foreign Secretary’s name “should have been an instruction not a job offer”. Having not really bothered with popular culture since some time in 1979 (when leather trousers were “in”), Theresa May was stony faced as the House erupted with sedentary chortling. At this point Rudd should have leaned over and explained the joke so the PM could attempt a reasonable simulation of the human emotion of mirth.

No such help was forthcoming so Theresa was stranded. If you looked closely enough you could actually see the lightning-quick processor in her brain whirring as she tried to work it out. What could it mean? Feckless orator? Frizzled oaf? Franchised obscurant?

Still none the wiser, the PM clearly decided that if you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well join ‘em, countering that Boris “is in short an FFS: a fine Foreign Secretary”. Completely oblivious she then sat down smirking. “Nailed it”, or more likely “jolly good show old bean!” she must have thought. 

Mrs. May also wished everyone a happy Christmas, going on to remark: “I will of course have an opportunity to do that again on Monday, when I am sure the House will be as full for the statement on the European Council meeting”. We can just be thankful it was a Monday debate or no doubt she would have cheerily told the House that she would “see you next Tuesday!”

Not satisfied that she had sufficiently displayed her complete ignorance of pop culture the PM then went on to implore the House and the nation to “download the single” commemorating the death of Jo Cox. At this point everyone was wondering if it was possible for Theresa May to get any more uncool.

But then again, maybe Theresa May is cool? She doesn’t know what FFS means, still doesn’t really understand what a download is, and has probably only just stopped referring to iPods as “walkmans”. Not only that but she wears £1,000 gold leather trousers and then demotes anyone who criticises them.

On the coolness scale naturally you have your F1 drivers and Keith Richards at one end, and your William Hagues and Piers Morgans at the other. But then there’s also a certain sub-set that are so consciously uncool they become cool: “The Clarksons”. The PM just may be one of them.

In other news Angus Robertson got up to moan as is his wont. But unusually for once this came as a source of comfort, making my post-Guido christmas PFL hangover really not so bad after all. I mean, it could be worse couldn’t it? I could be Angus Robertson, a walking bag of human misery.

Heidi Allen then rose to have a little cry about modern slavery: literally she cried. Obviously slavery’s bad and everything, but does every Commons debate have to be a sob-fest now? When did we become such a nation of wimps? Did Lloyd-George ever break down in the commons about how his impoverished Welsh upbringing? Did Joe Chamberlain weep when he sat in the Commons barely able to speak after having a massive stroke? Did Churchill break down when he addressed the House in a bombed out Parliament in 1940?

But there is one man in the House who understands this. And being Christmas time he deserves a special end of the year congratulations.That man is Tom Watson and he is a stoic. He sits through week after week of Labour getting BTFO in PMQs and doesn’t flinch: simply sucks it up and takes his punishment like a man. BTFO? Google it you uncool loser.

You can see it in his face. “God just see this one out and we’re done Tom. You can do it mate” he’s thinking. “Keep going Tom. Don’t crack. Don’t let them see you cry. Thirty minutes and you’ll be in Strangers double parked with a Peroni in each hand”. It’s hard not to like someone who perseveres like Tom does. Merry Christmas Mr. Watson.

Theresa May: FFS, Boris

“A Fine Foreign Secretary”, indeed…[…] Read the rest

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PMQs: Who’s Asking The Questions

Oral Questions to The Prime Minister

Q1 Peter Dowd (Bootle)

Q2 Mark Durkan (Foyle)

Q3 Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent)

Q4 Amanda Milling (Cannock Chase)

Q5 Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber)

Q6 Lucy Powell (Manchester Central)

Q7 Justin Madders (Ellesmere Port and Neston)

Q8 Mike Weir (Angus)

Q9 Ms Gisela Stuart (Birmingham, Edgbaston)

Q10 Naz Shah (Bradford West)

Q11 Tim Loughton (East Worthing and Shoreham)

Q12 Dr Sarah Wollaston (Totnes)

Q13 Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion)

Q14 Victoria Prentis (Banbury)

Q15 Helen Whately (Faversham and Mid Kent)

Comments in the comments…[…] Read the rest

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Thornberry In Labour’s Side

Theresa May sat out PMQs today as she’s far away in Bahrain bowing to our Gulf overlords (peace be upon them). It turns out that fawning deference comes easy when in the presence of the assorted head-choppers, slave-drivers and anti-Semites that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council.[…] Read the rest

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DPMQs: Who’s Asking the Questions

Theresa May is in Bahrain so Leader of the House David Lidington is deputising. Emily Thornberry up for Labour.

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Dr Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire)

Q2 Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West)

Q3 Bob Blackman (Harrow East)

Q4 Amanda Milling (Cannock Chase)

Q5 Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough)

Q6 Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

Q7 Patrick Grady (Glasgow North)

Q8 Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire)

Q9 Kit Malthouse (North West Hampshire)

Q10 Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham)

Q11 Craig Williams (Cardiff North)

Q12 Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay)

Q13 Steve Baker (Wycombe)

Q14 Richard Graham (Gloucester)[…] Read the rest

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“I Want My Cake”

pmqs

It’s a testament to the wit and originality of Boris Johnson that his quip that he is both pro having and pro eating cake is still being referenced sullenly seven years after he first coined it. Why? Well that’s because there are essentially two types of people in this world: those terribly fond of saying “you can’t have your cake and eat it”, and those not at all fond of hearing it.[…] Read the rest

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Corbyn Confuses IMF and IFS

Corbyn had an open goal on the economy, and spectacularly missed…[…] Read the rest

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Who is Asking the Questions Today?

pmqs live chat may corbynOral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion)

Q2 Mark Menzies (Fylde) 

Q3 Chris Bryant (Rhondda) 

Q4 Seema Kennedy (South Ribble) 

Q5 Fiona Bruce (Congleton) 

Q6 Kelly Tolhurst (Rochester and Strood) 

Q7 Margaret Greenwood (Wirral West) 

Q8 Claire Perry (Devizes) 

Q9 Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) 

Q10 Stephen Timms (East Ham) 

Q11 Chris White (Warwick and Leamington) 

Q12 Mr Stephen Hepburn (Jarrow) 

Q13 Suella Fernandes (Fareham)

Q14 Kirsten Oswald (East Renfrewshire) 

Q15 Stuart Andrew (Pudsey) 

 

 […] Read the rest

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PMQs / Autumn Statement Sketch Double Bill

pmq-autumn-statement

Before we get to the disaster that was the Autumn Statement, first PMQs. Not one to break with tradition, Jeremy Corbyn continued to question the Prime Minister in the manner of a tramp freshly whisked out of the gutter, chucked into a suit and given a hastily cobbled together sheet to read from.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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