James Forsyth

PMQs has lost its sense of occasion, thanks to Jeremy Corbyn

PMQs has lost its sense of occasion, thanks to Jeremy Corbyn
Text settings

Jeremy Corbyn’s delivery at PMQs today was far more passionate than usual. But his questions were still far too scattergun. Cameron batted them away with almost embarrassing ease.

Corbyn’s ineptitude is draining PMQs of its sense of occasion. It is also particularly maddening as there are plenty of things to pick the government up on at the moment — Sunday trading, the EU-Turkey deal, Hinkley Point to name just a few.

But the prize for the worse Labour question of the session didn’t go to Corbyn, but his City Minister Richard Burgon who asked Cameron if he would resign if he lost the EU referendum. Predictably, Cameron simply said no. But the question served to unify the Tory benches rather than divide them. It also exasperated many of his Labour colleagues, who —because they need left wing voters to turn out and vote to stay in — want to avoid turning this into a referendum on Cameron.

Towards the end of the session, Cameron himself attempted to inject some energy into it. He went from a reflection on Mothering Sunday to a demand that Labour end segregated political meetings, accusing the party of pandering to religious bigots who think that women are second class citizens. Things have come to a pretty pass when it is the Prime Minister, not the opposition, who is trying to add some drama to PMQs.