Introducing Corbyn’s Law

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Proceedings began with a lengthy discussion on the Member for Lichfield’s (now removed) prostate. The new, lighter, more streamlined Fabbers spoke of the treatment he received on the NHS, only to have the Labour leader somewhat rain on his parade in his opening remarks. “I obviously hope”, inquired a re-elected, reinvigorated Jeremy Corbyn, “that the treatment he got was the same as the treatment everybody else got?”

The implication here being that the NHS pay particular attention to the health of the glands should they be nestled inside a Tory MP, whereas for the rest of us serfs they just rip them out with some rusty pliers and then kick them up the corridors in a game of hacky sack. The House was not amused, forcing the Labour leader to plead “it’s not controversial, I’m just wishing him well, is that okay?”, before going on to smirk “sorry to start on such a controversial note Mr. Speaker, I do apologise”. It’s come to something when he can’t even successfully congratulate someone for beating cancer.

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Theresa May Burns Emily Thornberry

Phil Hammond enjoyed it.

PMQs: Who Is Asking The Questions Today?

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Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury)

Q2 Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch) 

Q3 Michael Fabricant (Lichfield)

Q4 Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) 

Q5 Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury and Atcham) 

Q6 Vernon Coaker (Gedling) 

Q7 Mr David Burrowes (Enfield, Southgate) 

Q8 Mr Philip Hollobone (Kettering) 

Q9 Andrew Stephenson (Pendle)

Q10 Dr Alasdair McDonnell (Belfast South) 

Q11 Liz Saville Roberts (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) 

Q12 James Cartlidge (South Suffolk)

Q13 Fiona Bruce (Congleton) 

Q14 Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) 

Q15 Victoria Prentis (Banbury) 

Corbyn Finds Safe Space

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Theresa May began today’s PMQs with a requiem for her predecessor, opting in sombre tone to list the departing Member for Witney’s crowning achievements. He was, she opined, “a tremendous public servant”, whose tenure saw “the economy being stabilised..and people on low incomes being taken out of tax”. That was it: a two sentence elegy for a two bob Prime Minister whose achievements are so minor they could be comfortably rattled off without pause for breath.

In fact the only thing she missed out was the legalisation of same sex marriage. Marie Antoinette said “let them eat cake”, David Cameron said “let them…”. Well I digress. Either way both wound up with their heads chopped off a year later in the midst of a revolutionary uprising against a quasi-feudal chumocracy. Such is politics.

The Labour leader naturally decided to kick things off with his weekly memorial, bestowing on the lucky few the singular honour of his Parliamentary tribute. “Who this time?” The nation wondered. A fallen Hamas regional organiser? A PLO munitions supplier? The Grand Mufti of Gaza and the Occupied Territories perhaps? No, turns out not. This time Mr. Corbyn decided to pay his respects to the brave Police Constable who got shivved in Merseyside trying to arrest a rapist. What’s more, he didn’t even then go on to ask that we also pay our respects to all Police Constables around the world who get shivved trying to arrest a rapist, as he is so wont to do. Continue reading

PMQs: Who is Asking the Questions Today

pmqs live chat may corbyn

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Deidre Brock (Edinburgh North and Leith)

Q2 Marcus Fysh (Yeovil)

QCraig Williams (Cardiff North) 

Q4 Victoria Atkins (Louth and Horncastle) 

Q5 Owen Thompson (Midlothian) 

Q6 Mr David Winnick (Walsall North)

Q7 Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield) 

Q8 Mr John Baron (Basildon and Billericay) 

Q9 Lucy Frazer (South East Cambridgeshire)

Q10 Fiona Bruce (Congleton) 

Q11 Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) 

Q12 Tom Elliott (Fermanagh and South Tyrone) 

Q13 Mary Robinson (Cheadle) 

Q14 Lisa Nandy (Wigan) 

Q15 Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) 

Comments in the comments…

More Than A Freudian Slip

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And so we’re back, but from where? Well Theresa May chose to spend the Summer recess hiking with her husband Philip in the Swiss Alps: an interesting choice for a holiday jaunt and a million miles away from her predecessor’s Cornish jollies. Such Alpine treks are rare amongst today’s political and intellectual elite, but were a mainstay of the nineteenth century intelligentsia, favoured by all from Shelley and Byron, to Freud, and of course Freiderich Nietzche.

It was to their snow capped peaks that the philosopher turned following a particularly hurtful separation from a once close companion to walk and ponder, returning in 1882 with the revolutionary proclamation that “God is Dead”. For her efforts pondering a rather more significant separation the PM has brought back the similarly pithy declaration that “Brexit means Brexit”. We can only hope that the similarities end there as a few years later Freiderich wound up in a loony bin with neurosyphilitic brain damage after going a bit heavy on the prostitutes. Such a fate is of course quite unlikely to befall modern politicians… Continue reading

PMQs: Who is Asking the Questions Today

pmqs live chat may corbyn

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Thangam Debbonaire (Bristol West)

Q2 Neil Parish (Tiverton and Honiton)

Q3 Richard Arkless (Dumfries and Galloway) 

Q4 Lucy Frazer (South East Cambridgeshire) 

Q5 James Heappey (Wells) 

Q6 Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish)

Q7 Mr Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) 

Q8 James Gray (North Wiltshire) 

Q9 Richard Fuller (Bedford) 

Q10 Charlie Elphicke (Dover) 

Q11 Ms Margaret Ritchie (South Down) 

Q12 Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington) 

Q13 Julian Sturdy (York Outer) 

Q14 Helen Hayes (Dulwich and West Norwood) 

Q15 Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) 

Comments in the comments…

Oily’s Confused Advice to Corbyn for PMQs

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Oily Smith has helpfully written to Jezza with some advice on tactics at PMQs:

“Of course, with six questions, you could cover more than one topic … although you know from your own experience that covering too many topics in one session can make the scrutiny less effective.”

Oily as always faces both ways and then splits the difference. Yeah but no but don’t stick to one subject but don’t do too many…

UPDATE: Treated with disdain…

Haven’t We Seen This One Before?

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Last week the outgoing Prime Minister recalled being accosted when on a tour of New York with Mayor Bloomberg. “Hey, Cameron!” yelled a pedestrian, “Prime Minister’s Questions! We love your show!”. The House laughed, but it’s an interesting conceit, and one that is not without its merit. In the Commons relationships are strained and rivalries are fought out, fortunes are made and reputations are dashed, and season finales see big beasts die –  and then sometimes come back to life (if you’re Dirty Den or Boris). All the while the show goes on.

However, if PMQs is a show, then one couldn’t shake the feeling that today’s was a repeat. It started off originally enough when John Glen kicked things off and the House turned to see George Osborne sitting just below him. This certainly was novel: the former Chancellor  marooned on the backbenches, nodding along vacantly in the manner of a hostage going along with their captors’ script. Michael Gove was stranded in the cheap seats too, perhaps concentrating so hard on learning loyalty – as ordered by the Prime Minister –  that he zoned out. So far, so different.

But then as Theresa May took to the despatch box one couldn’t help but notice her husband Philip beaming down with pride from the peers’ gallery above. Ah, now that’s when we’ve seen this one before! It was thirty years ago and back then another Prime Minister’s husband watched a grammar school girl from the provinces who went on to Oxford rip apart a shabbily dressed, white haired old lefty. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

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“Remind him of Anybody?”

Theresa May was sounding an awful lot like the last female PM, she opened with a jibe: “In my years here in this house, I’ve long heard the Labour party asking what the Conservative Party does for women. It keeps making us Prime Minister.”

She was at her most Thatcheresque on Corbyn’s troubles:

“He refers to the situation of some workers who might have some job insecurity, and potentially unscrupulous bosses. I suspect that there are many members of the opposition benches who might be familiar with an unscrupulous boss. A boss who doesn’t listen to his workers; a boss who requires some of his workers to double their workload; and maybe even a boss who exploits the rules to further his own career. Remind him of anybody?”

Chills up Guido’s spine…

Theresa May’s First PMQs: Who is Asking the Questions?

Q1 John Glen (Salisbury)

Q2 Mr Jamie Reed (Copeland)

Q3 Julie Cooper (Burnley)

Q4 Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough)

Q5 Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Q6 Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury and Atcham)

Q7 Nusrat Ghani (Wealden)

Q8 Andrew Stephenson (Pendle)

Q9 Imran Hussain (Bradford East)

Q10 Stuart Blair Donaldson (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine)

Q11 Mr Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)

Q12 Kelly Tolhurst (Rochester and Strood)

Q13 Stuart Andrew (Pudsey)

Comments in the comments please…

Wham, Bam, Thank You Cam

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Today was David Cameron’s 147th – and final – Prime Minister’s Questions. 147, not a bad knock all considered, and rather unfortunate in the manner of dismissal: caught out on the boundary by a Eurosceptic when swinging for a six. Rotten luck – he should have played it straight.

But before the long walk back to the pavilion there was just time for his swansong: and boy what a swansong it was. Mr. Cameron naturally opted to go out in style –  no gingham shirt this time, gosh no, strictly Tory blue twill and matching necktie. Dolled up, he then treated us to a real treat: a whistlestop tour of all the tricks of the trade that made him one of the best PMQs performers to have ever graced the despatch box.

To kick off the PM began with a full display of impeccably researched pop culture trivia, enthusiastically congratulating the full list of British Wimbledon winners with barely a glance at his notes. So clued up was he that when Corbyn went off-piste with praise for American Serena Williams, he was able to wholeheartedly agree, noting how she’d now overtaken Steffi Graf’s amazing record of 22 grand slams. Few come to the Chamber this well prepared.

Trivia done with, now a lesson in how to dismantle an argument in style. When challenged on his economic record by his opposite number, the PM furrowed his brow in condescension, before demanding that if we are going to talk about the economic record, let us get the facts straight”. Having teed himself up he then boomed that since he took office we have cut the deficit by two thirds”, and that “there are 2.5 million more people in work in our country. One elbow propping up the despatch box, he went on to rattle off a succession of similar rapid fire statistics with his thumb, completely in command of the chamber. Facts duly listed and voice at a crescendo, he delivered the humourous parting blow that, while Corbyn accuses him of economic sloth, if they ever got into power, it would take them about a year to work out who would sit where”. This was Cameron in full flow, hitting his opponent with a flurry of highly specific data, all the while cockily leaning forwards as if holding court in a saloon bar.

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Cameron’s Farewell: “I was the Future Once”

“Yes we can be pretty tough and test and challenge our leaders – perhaps more than some other countries – but that is something we should be proud of, and we should keep at it. And I hope you will all keep at it, and I will will you on as you do. The last thing I would say, is that you can achieve a lot of things in politics, you can get a lot of things done, and that, in the end – the public service, the national interest – that is what it is all about. Nothing is really impossible if you put your mind to it. After all, as I once said – I was the future once.” 

Farewell, Prime Minister…

“I Love Your Show”

Cameron retells a story about the international recognition PMQs gets. Great accent, Prime Minister…

Cameron’s Last Laugh Over May, Labour, and Watson

An email from “Judith” over Tom Watson’s threats to the Labour leadership poses a particular highlight in Cameron’s last PMQs against Corbyn. The buoyant PM looks raring to go…

Cameron’s Empty Schedule

“Other than one meeting this afternoon, the diary for the rest of my day is remarkably light.” Classy…

PMQs: Who is Asking the Questions Today?

Q1 Danny Kinahan (South Antrim)

Q2 Jeff Smith (Manchester, Withington)

Q3 Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton)

Q4 Jack Lopresti (Filton and Bradley Stoke)

Q5 Mr Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West)

Q6 Mr Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden)

Q7 Jo Churchill (Bury St Edmunds)

Q8 Carol Monaghan (Glasgow North West)

Q9 John Mc Nally (Falkirk)

Q10 Jo Stevens (Cardiff Central)

Q11 Margaret Ferrier (Rutherglen and Hamilton West)

Q12 Steve Brine (Winchester)

Q13 Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills)

Q14 Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber)

Q15 Mr Robin Walker (Worcester) (905847)

My Name is Jezzimus Momentus Corbinius, And I Will Have My Vengeance

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Those who still vaunt Jeremy Corbyn’s pacifism might take a moment to consider that the only thing keeping the Labour leader hanging on these past few days has been his steadfast desire to run Tony Blair through with a rusty bayonet (courtesy of Sir John Chilcot). It was a heady mix of spite and righteous indignation that sustained Jezza through this week’s endless barrage of condemnation and resignations. Though mortally wounded, he did not falter, limping valiantly on to the Iraq Inquiry debate in the Commons this afternoon.

Some PMQs hilarity before the Chilcot solemnity. The Prime Minister lauded Corbyn’s rotating frontbench as the “biggest job-creation scheme I have ever seen in my life”. The fact that the Tories were themselves split and would also have a new frontbench soon did not matter. This was demob-happy Dave, blissfully firing off a few shots without a care in the world before packing up for sunnier climes. In this same spirit he later admonished a particularly moany group of heckling Picts to stop “whinging endlessly”. A somewhat cruel admonishment considering how intrinsic such an activity is to being an SNP MP, but the message was clear: no longer did Cameron care to sugar (or batter in this case) the pill.

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PMQs: Who is Asking the Questions Today?

Q1 Chloe Smith (Norwich North)

Q2 Mr Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

Q3 John Glen (Salisbury)

Q4 Sir David Amess (Southend West)

Q5 Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East)

Q6 Seema Kennedy (South Ribble)

Q7 Kevin Foster (Torbay)

Q8 Mhairi Black (Paisley and Renfrewshire South)

Q9 Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton)

Q10 Chris Law (Dundee West)

Q11 Martyn Day (Linlithgow and East Falkirk)

Q12 Rachel Reeves (Leeds West)

Q13 Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central)

Q14 Margaret Ferrier (Rutherglen and Hamilton West)

Comments in the comments please…

Corbyn Gets His New Politics At Last

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Jeremy Corbyn managed – just – to find someone to sit next to him. He didn’t talk to Tom Watson (who’s gamely riding out the worst post-Glasto comedown conceivable), instead turning his head towards the less dangerous Kate Osamor. He then exchanged a few words with the surely harmless Clive Lewis, and some more with Dennis Skinner.[…] Read the rest

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