Isabel Hardman

Why isn’t Jeremy Corbyn kicking the government while it’s down?

Why isn't Jeremy Corbyn kicking the government while it's down?
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The government is in a mess, with the Chancellor having to go underground while a row rages in the Conservative party about whether or not the central mission of the Prime Minister to lead a compassionate Conservative party is really happening in practice. David Cameron had to use his statement on the European Council this afternoon to defend the government's record on social justice, and praise the work of Iain Duncan Smith in an attempt to get things back on track. And yet Jeremy Corbyn saw today's open goal yawning before him, and decided to kick the ball into a hedge.

The Labour leader managed to mention the fact he'd only been given advance sight of half of Cameron's statement twice, but omitted to raise Iain Duncan Smith once. It was left to the candidate who he beat into fourth place in the Labour leadership contest, Liz Kendall, and former frontbenchers such as Caroline Flint, to raise the Work and Pensions Secretary's resignation.

How could the Labour leader miss the opportunity to attack the government while it is in a tremendous mess? Perhaps Corbyn's very poor delivery could be excused had he at least made an attempt to put Cameron on the ropes over the Tory turmoil this weekend. But what has happened in the Chamber this afternoon is that neither David Cameron nor George Osborne have yet felt the heat for the resignation of a Cabinet minister. It doesn't seem to have made much difference that one man turned up and the other didn't: both approaches have led to a surprisingly easy afternoon