PMQs: Corbyn drops ball and catches a bus

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

You wait years for a bus question at PMQs and then six come along all at once.

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn during Prime Minister's Questions

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn during Prime Minister's Questions - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

And fair play to Jeremy Corbyn. He is right to use his unique opportunity to quiz the prime minister every week to highlight the issues that concern the man on the street.

But all six questions on buses? All six? Theresa May must be laughing.

The government is less than 48 hours away from a Brexit summit at Chequers that could rip it apart and spark a very messy leadership challenge and Corbyn is banging on about the Number 276 from Dudley to Wollaston.

And what made it even more galling was the fact that he didn't even ask six different questions, just the same one again and again.

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This was his opener but each one afterwards followed a similar route: 'With fares rising above inflation, passenger numbers falling and services being cut does the prime minister accept her failure on yet another public service – the buses?'

It is a good question. People, often the poorest people in our society, rely on public transport and it is suffering. But there was an easy dodge for the PM – she just pinged the questions back on to local authorities. And when Corbyn demanded May 'give councils the power to ensure everyone gets a regulated bus service wherever they live' she quickly retorted 'I will take no lessons on devolution to local authorities .. which party is it that established metro mayors?'

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This is a favourite ploy of Corbyn: try and come up with a topic the prime minister is not expecting in a bid to catch her out. And it is not a bad ploy. But why stick to one topic on a week when the opposition really should be shovelling on the pressure over Brexit.

Corbyn's performances at PMQs on Brexit have improved during the last month or so. But he keeps missing open goals. All the prime minister had to do was turn up to win this PMQs (although if she had come by bus we would probably still be waiting).

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