Lloyd Evans Lloyd Evans

Top marks for Keir Starmer’s joke writers at PMQs

Keir Starmer at PMQs (Credit: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)

Sir Keir’s gag-writers were on good form at PMQs. Last week, the Tories lowered expectations by predicting a loss of 1,000 seats at the local election. And this worst-case scenario came true. ‘At last,’ crowed Sir Keir, ‘a Tory promise they haven’t actually broken.’

He also took aim at Rishi’s democratic illegitimacy. In last year’s leadership contest, Rishi lost to Liz Truss who was then outlasted by a lettuce. ‘He entered a two-horse race and somehow managed to come third,’ said Sir Keir.

Labour’s backbenchers roared at this like bison feasting in fresh green pasture. They can smell power in the air, and the breeze is moving their way.

Labour can smell power in the air, and the breeze is moving their way

Rishi accused Labour of relying on two threadbare policies: clobbering non-doms and taxing Big Oil. And he snuck in a well-disguised joke. He pretended to apologise for once admitting that he had no working-class friends. ‘We all say silly things, and I was teenager then,’ confessed the PM. ‘But in his 40s, the honourable gentleman was still taking abut abolishing the monarchy.’ 

Green party supremo Caroline Lucas mounted her own attack on Sir Keir. She wants to destroy his manifesto by pre-confiscating Big Oil’s assets before Labour can tax them.

A vast new oil lake has recently been discovered in the North Sea and this irritates Lucas because it contains the three things she hates most: wealth, energy and good news. She begged Rishi to withhold a drilling licence and effectively to ban Britain from availing of its own assets.

Her plan is so barmy that it has a kind of geometric perfection. Our fuel will languish untapped off our coast. The Chinese communist dictatorship will be paid to burn coal and to build steel turbines that we don’t really need.

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