James Forsyth James Forsyth

PMQs: Corbyn gives one of his worst performances yet

It is one of the oldest tricks in the book: make news just before the leader of the opposition gets up at PMQs to wrong foot them. This is what Theresa May did to Jeremy Corbyn today, announcing that there will be a government white paper on Brexit after all. The Labour leader was clearly thrown by this, and never recovered. He ended up turning in one of his worst PMQs performances. Though, it is worth noting that May still hasn’t said when this white paper will be published.

To make things worse, Corbyn began by offering condolences to the family of a policeman shot in Belfast at the weekend. The problem, as the DUP’s Nigel Dodds pointed out later in the session, is that the policeman hasn’t died and is in a stable condition in hospital.

In a sign of how trade will be one of the big issues in British politics post-Brexit, both Corbyn and Robertson attempted to attack a US / UK trade deal ahead of May’s meeting with Donald Trump. Corbyn warned it would endanger the NHS while Robertson asked whether the UK would have to accept US food standards. This was a reminder that getting a US / UK trade deal—once negotiated—through parliament won’t be all plain sailing.

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