SKETCH: Cameron’s Theatre, Corbyn’s Reality

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And so after a week punctuated by dissent and disquiet, it began. First the formalities commemorating Brussels, giving the Prime Minister a chance to do his serious face by furrowing his brow and talking slowly, taking great care to enunciate every word. In response the assembled expenses frauds, sex pests and careerists solemnly opined “hear, hear” in deep and mournful tones, with Newport MP Peter Bottomley going on to meditate profoundly on the grand themes of “hope” and “hate” in the first question of the day.

Commiserations proffered, now onwards to the heart of the matter. The Labour leader began by hitting Cameron on disability benefits, citing a letter from one Adrian of outer Timbuktu (or at least he might as well have been because Mr. Corbyn didn’t deign to expand on the whereabouts of his mysterious pen-pal). “Could the Prime Minister do what the Chancellor failed to do yesterday, and apologise to those that went through such anguish and upset during the threat of a cut in their personal independence payments?” he asked.

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Corbyn Yells “Disgraceful” at Cameron For Raising Anti-Semitism

This is a terrible look for Corbyn. As Cameron raised the importance of tackling anti-Semitism, the Labour leader furiously and repeatedly shouted “disgraceful” at the PM. Read Guido’s story that reignited Labour’s race row here

John Woodcock’s Deleted PMQs Summary

You can probably call that “hostile”…

Who Is Asking The Questions Today?

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Q1 Sir Peter Bottomley (Worthing West)

Q2 Mike Freer (Finchley and Golders Green)

Q3 Mr Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland)

Q4 Stuart Blair Donaldson (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine)

Q5 Dr Rupa Huq (Ealing Central and Acton)

Q6 David T. C. Davies (Monmouth)

Q7 Amanda Milling (Cannock Chase)

Q8 Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough)

Q9 Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole)

Q10 Patrick Grady (Glasgow North)

Q11 Richard Arkless (Dumfries and Galloway)

Q12 Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow)

Q13 Andrew Stephenson (Pendle)

Q14 Ms Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (Ochil and South Perthshire)

Q15 Mr Douglas Carswell (Clacton)

Comments in the comments please…

See Who is Asking the Questions Today

pmqs chat

Oral Questions to the Prime Minister

Q1 Karen Lumley (Redditch)

Q2 Michael Fabricant (Lichfield)

Q3 Byron Davies (Gower)

Q4 Ian C. Lucas (Wrexham) 

Q5 Dr James Davies (Vale of Clwyd) 

Q6 Kevin Barron (Rother Valley) 

Q7 Richard Graham (Gloucester) 

Q8 Ronnie Cowan (Inverclyde) 

Q9 Callum McCaig (Aberdeen South)

Q10 Mr Ranil Jayawardena (North East Hampshire) 

Q11 Kevin Hollinrake (Thirsk and Malton) 

Q12 Andrea Jenkyns (Morley and Outwood) 

Q13 Stephen Metcalfe (South Basildon and East Thurrock) 

Q14 Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay)

Q15 Sir Simon Burns (Chelmsford) 

Comments in the comments…

Hundred, Not Out

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So Jeremy Corbyn reached his century. Today he asked his hundredth PMQ question. It feels like so many more, doesn’t it? The awkward shift from local radio phone-in host (“Claire from Nuneaton has a question…”) to floundering supply teacher (“It’s not funny!”) to what Nye Bevan would have called a “desiccated calculating machine” with a muddled spewing out of obscure data.

Corbyn never really has a good week at PMQs. He has some weeks that a worse than others. Perhaps due to the novelty wearing off this was one the worse ones.

Even before he got to his feet he had been challenged by David Cameron over the decision of the Labour Party to welcome in Gerry Downing – a Trot wacko who says: “We defend the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq”, “Why Marxists must address the Jewish Question”. Good scoops those…

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Who Is Asking The Questions Today?

pmqs chat

Q1 Karin Smyth (Bristol South)

Q2 Richard Burgon (Leeds East)

Q3 Julie Elliott (Sunderland Central)

Q4 Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Q5 Mr Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham, Perry Barr)

Q6 Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham)

Q7 James Berry (Kingston and Surbiton)

Q8 Mark Spencer (Sherwood)

Q9 Andrew Stephenson (Pendle)

Q10 Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)

Q11 Martyn Day (Linlithgow and East Falkirk)

Q12 Mr Ranil Jayawardena (North East Hampshire)

Q13 Jack Dromey (Birmingham, Erdington)

Q14 Jim Dowd (Lewisham West and Penge)

Q15 James Cartlidge (South Suffolk)

Comments in the comments please…

Corbyn’s Naked Pole Dancing*

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Today we discovered the difference between a threat and a promise.

For years we’ve been promised that a calmer, more serious House during Prime Minister’s Questions would be good for the whole country. Less ya-boo and more speaking up for constituents with real problems.

Well, that’s pretty much what we got today, and I doubt if I’m the only person watching who thought it was bloody dull.

As for the threat – well, didn’t the EU referendum threaten the unity of the Tory Party? Wouldn’t PMQs descend into cat-calls and insults between David Cameron and his backbenchers, as well as between his MPs? There was oddly none of that today and there better be some fireworks soon or else ordinary hacks – not to mention ordinary voters – are going to tune out on pretty short order.

Corbyn didn’t help, naturally. The man could perform a semi-naked pole dance and he would still bore you to sleep. So banging on, for all six questions, about education (first nursery, then primary, then secondary) left his own side looking slightly relieved. After all, he might have gone on something he feels really passionately about, like Trident. But they also looked, well, not quite there. Most of his front bench were staring into space, probably imagining what they were going to have for lunch after this was over, or trying to remember if they’d watched the latest episode of The X-Files…

Dave did his usual – read out some statistics which proved, after all, that he’s just brilliant. His weekly “joke” has become as tired and lame as Jezza’s personalised emails. Today he had a go at Labour for hiring Marxist tzatziki connoisseur Yanis Varoufakis as an adviser, labeling the decision as (Jesus…) “Acropolis Now”. As promotion-seeking Tories slapped their thighs to try to contain their mirth, Jez just kept his head down and read all his questions out without even a thought about maybe challenging anything Dave said. Did you know the Leader of the Opposition draws the equivalent of a ministerial salary for doing this job? No, I don’t know why either.

When Speaker Bercow called Bernard Jenkin, there was much anticipation that at last we’d get the EU row we had all hoped for. But his name was called and nobody stood up. “Where is the fella?” shouted Bercow. Remember when you were at school, how excited everyone got if someone brought a dog into class? Well, that’s MPs when someone whose name’s on the Order Paper at PMQs doesn’t show up. Much laughter (affected and hysterical) ensued until Bernie’s stunt double, David Davis, was called in his stead to ask what was probably the same question – about immigration from the EU. Dave quickly (and accurately) referred to this as a “single transferable question”.

Boom-tish, as they say. Continue reading

Who Is Asking The Questions Today?

pmqs chat

Q1 Patricia Gibson (North Ayrshire and Arran)

Q2 Seema Kennedy (South Ribble)

Q3 David Mowat (Warrington South)

Q4 Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark

Q5 Bill Esterson (Sefton Central)

Q6 Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough)

Q7 Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire)

Q8 Mr Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex)

Q9 Amanda Milling (Cannock Chase)

Q10 Rachael Maskell (York Central)

Q11 Richard Benyon (Newbury)

Q12 Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire)

Q13 Stuart Andrew (Pudsey)

Q14 Amanda Solloway (Derby North)

Q15 Dr Phillip Lee (Bracknell)

Comments in the comments please…

Mary Cameron Stars in Mother of Parliaments

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It was all motherhood and apple pie. The star was the Prime Minister’s mother, Mary Cameron. On a question about public spending in Oxfordshire, young Dave responded to a heckle: “You want me to ask my mother? I know what my mother would say. She would look across the despatch box and say: Put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the National Anthem”. Imagine the stir it would cause if Mary came out for Brexit. Boris would certainly have to smarten up to secure such an endorsement.

Later Cameron Jnr added: “My mother would be pleased to know that 1.9 million more people are going to A&E.” That sounded rather sinister, but I suppose it was meant in a positive way. As the discussion was about the NHS, it drifted into “If Nye Bevan was alive today he’d turn in his grave” mode. Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t think of a good retort on the spot but he later tweeted a quote from Einstein: “If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes & shoddy furniture let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas & shoddy philosophies”. Jolly good – if only he had though of it on time.

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Cameron’s “My Mother” Comeback to Corbyn

Corbyn unwisely brings up Cameron’s anti-cuts mum at PMQs, Cameron blows him away with a dynamite comeback:

“I know what my mother would say. She’d look across the despatch box and say, put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem.”

The Labour benches silent, Lammy with his head in his hands, as Watson and Eagle try to keep a straight face…

UPDATE: Corbyn eventually thinks of a comeback:

PMQs Live: Who Is Asking The Questions Today?

pmqs chat

Q1 Michelle Donelan (Chippenham)

Q2 Neil Gray (Airdrie and Shotts)

Q3 Chris Davies (Brecon and Radnorshire)

Q4 Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber)

Q5 Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire)

Q6 Maggie Throup (Erewash)

Q7 Craig Mackinlay (South Thanet)

Q8 Tulip Siddiq (Hampstead and Kilburn)

Q9 Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle)

Q10 Richard Arkless (Dumfries and Galloway)

Q11 Michael Ellis (Northampton North)

Q12 Imran Hussain (Bradford East)

Q13 Callum McCaig (Aberdeen South)

Q14 Kelly Tolhurst (Rochester and Strood)

Q15 Nusrat Ghani (Wealden)

Comments in the comments please…

Corbyn’s PMQs Ammo From BBC

At the last PMQs Jeremy Corbyn asked a question from “Rosie“, a fan of the Labour leader who opposes the government on housing. Afterwards, Rosie wrote on her Facebook about why she prefers Jezza to Dave. There are some choice words for the PM.

“Unfortunately, when Jeremy asked David Cameron about my situation, his response was disappointing and misleading. Mr Cameron said he’s ‘delivering for Rosie’ – but he’s definitely not… Jeremy put a strong case forward in my defence by urging the Prime Minister to accept there is a housing crisis and that his weak gesture politics are not enough. It was both saddening and infuriating to listen to Mr Cameron insist that he is doing right by me, when in reality his government is failing my generation.”

Punchy stuff from this Corbynista.

It will come as absolutely no surprise to readers that Rosie in fact works for the BBC:

Indeed, she’s been at the Beeb for three years. When she’s not working as a production coordinator or on commissioning and formats, she’s writing Jezza’s PMQs… 

Lonely Hearts Club of One

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News flash! A strike by junior doctors is taking place. So naturally, if you want to know what our elected leaders are doing about it, tune into the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions.

What’s that you say? Not a single question or comment about the risk to patients from this unprecedented action? Surely not?!

Talk about being in touch with the public, eh?

Never mind, Jez was boldly holding the government to account anyway. Every MP has at least one old codger, describing himself as a “community activist”, who never fails to turn up at the monthly advice surgery carrying a plastic bag from which he produces a large, thick folder of (the dreaded word) statistics, from which he will read in serious but monotonous tones. David Cameron must feel that his own old codger is now following him even into the chamber. At least Corbyn had left his Asda bag outside.

The Labour “leader” was, however, wearing a nifty new lapel badge declaring, lest there was any doubt, that he “hearts” unions. Usually, when such a campaign is launched, you end up with a whole swathe of sympathetic MPs sporting whatever badge or scarf or hat is being used to generate publicity during the most (only?) watched event in parliament’s calendar. But not today – Jez was the only Labour frontbencher proudly wearing his badge. I wonder why?

The last time there was a doctor’s strike, Corbyn harangued the PM about housing. Today, he decided to harangue the PM about… housing. And yes, I know it’s important and it’s all dreadful and I’m sure young Rosie (whom Corbyn said had written to him about the issue) is having a hard time having to live in the bedroom she grew up in rather than get a place of her own. But my God, the man can bore for Britain! Even his attempts at sounding a bit angry towards the end came across like one of those nutters who used to walk round with signs saying “The End Is Nigh”, not quite believing it himself but getting a bit annoyed about it all the same. Continue reading

PMQs (Rap Version)

Courtesy of the The Private Gentlemen’s Yacht Club

Corbyn Wears Sponsors’ Badge

Guido has always said that Labour MPs should wear the names of their union paymasters while they ask questions in the House, to ensure outside financial interests are always properly declared. Good to see the Labour leader agrees…

PMQs Live: Who Is Asking The Questions Today?

pmqs chat

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Comrade Corbyn Unites the Tories

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The biggest revelation at today’s PMQs was not that Cameron’s backbenchers are divided over Europe or that Labour backbenchers are phoning Dignitas for leadership advice.

No, it’s that the people of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are too thick to handle democracy. At least, you could conclude that from what the supremely pompous Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader, told the chamber today.

Six weeks is too short a time after the devolved elections in May to hold a European referendum, he declared, so the PM better gang homewards tae think again. Angus is one of those self-made men who worships his creator, so the implications of his request – echoing a letter sent by the three leaders of the regional assemblies earlier today – should have been obvious. American voters (for example) are frequently faced with electing a president, a governor, a senator, a congressman and a multitude of local officials all on the same November day. But Scots’ wee brains would explode if they’ve only got a six-week rest period between ballot papers, apparently.

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PMQS: Who’s Asking The Questions Today

pmqs chat

Q1 John Mann (Bassetlaw)

Q2 Marcus Fysh (Yeovil)

Q3 David Warburton (Somerton and Frome)

Q4 Rehman Chishti (Gillingham and Rainham)

Q5 Mr Christopher Chope (Christchurch)

Q6 Anne McLaughlin (Glasgow North East)

Q7 Mr Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight)

Q8 Ruth Smeeth (Stoke-on-Trent North)

Q9 Stella Creasy (Walthamstow)

Q10 Antoinette Sandbach (Eddisbury)

Q11 Julian Knight (Solihull)

Q12 David Rutley (Macclesfield)

Q13 Mark Spencer (Sherwood)

Q14 Johnny Mercer (Plymouth, Moor View)

Q15 Mary Robinson (Cheadle)

Comments in the comments please…

Tim Farron: “Who?”

Following on from the PM’s ribbing a few months ago, Farron is on the receiving end from Tory meanies again. “Mr Tim Farron.” “Who?”[…] Read the rest

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Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

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