Isabel Hardman

Corbyn gives May an easy ride at Prime Minister’s Questions

Corbyn gives May an easy ride at Prime Minister's Questions
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Limestone Country

Fiona Sampson

Little Toller Books, pp. 182, £

Jeremy Corbyn decided to re-release his greatest hits at Prime Minister's Questions today, starting with Brexit but then moving on to poverty, education, police cuts and 'burning i justices'. We've heard these questions many times before, and often in the same sequence, but today the Labour leader was using them once again to try to underline that Theresa May's government is failing not just on Brexit but on everything else too. This didn't work, though, because Corbyn only tried to tie the topics together in his very last question, and that question was particularly rambling.

Last night the Labour leader's spokesman delivered a crisp line about the government being unable to govern because it couldn't get its main business through. Corbyn's questions were clearly an attempt to illustrate this, but he would have done better to thread that line throughout the questions, rather than appearing to leap around.

May was therefore able to reel off statistics that she hoped showed how well the the government was actually doing on these matters. She also avoided a total drubbing on her Brexit deal, managing to settle on a line about the need for the government to listen to groups across Parliament in order to work out what sort of Brexit the House could actually support. Corbyn did open by asking May about her red line on the customs union, and other MPs picked up this matter too, but few managed to extract an answer from the Prime Minister during the session.

She did offer on interesting line, though, in response to a question from Ken Clarke about those red lines, including the prospect of extending Article 50. The Prime Minister appeared to hint that she wasn't as opposed to this as she previously seemed.

Tory MPs weren't in full-on loyalty mode today, with hostile questions from Philip Lee and Sarah Wollaston. But neither was it an angry, or sullen session, from which May is likely to take as much comfort as she will from a victory in tonight's vote of no confidence.