Katy Balls

Boris softens his PMQs approach for Rayner

Boris softens his PMQs approach for Rayner
Photo by Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament
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Boris Johnson faced a new opponent at Prime Minister's Questions today – Angela Rayner. With Sir Keir Starmer stuck at home waiting for the results of a family member's coronavirus test (which has since come back as negative), Labour's deputy took to the despatch box. Her performance led to a notably different approach by Johnson, the PM was notably less combative than he has been against Starmer.

Rayner began by putting Johnson on the spot by asking him the hourly rate of a care worker – a question he avoided answering. Her presence also meant more jokes on the Labour side. She had a dig at Dominic Cummings over lockdown, saying: 'The next time a man with Covid symptoms drives from London to Durham, it’ll probably be to get a Covid test.' Johnson again declined to offer any one-liners in response. 

Aside from zingy political point-scoring, Rayner focused in on government execution. She asked several questions about testing supply, which has seen people across the country complain of difficulties in getting a test. 

Johnson's response was that the government is performing well by international standards and 'delivering exactly what we said we would do'. The PM suggested the British public were following the guidance when it comes to getting a test. The problem is, that simply isn't the experience of people's day-to-day lives.

Written byKaty Balls

Katy Balls is The Spectator's deputy political editor.

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