PMQs verdict: Corbyn’s insult lobbing won’t solve Brexit confusion

PUBLISHED: 13:37 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:37 16 May 2018

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons

PA Wire/PA Images

Jeremy Corbyn used all six of his questions at PMQs on Brexit for the second week running – but what is his real motivation?

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of CommonsLabour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons

The Labour leader started with a real-deal zinger: “When the prime minister wrote that she wanted as little friction as possible was she talking about EU trade or the next cabinet meeting?”

Theresa May, a wry smile on her face, couldn’t defend that one. She knows how damaging the squabbling and backbiting in her cabinet over the customs union must appear to the public.

But Corbyn’s Brexit questions – both this week and last – are more about leaving the prime minster red-faced than actually getting to the bottom of what the hell is going on with Brexit negotiations.

He followed up his strong start with: “The divisions in the cabinet mean there has been no progress on negotiations for five months. The reality is the cabinet is more interested in negotiating with each other than it is with the EU.”

And he is right – of course he is. And it makes absolute sense for him to attempt to embarrass May at the dispatch box. But this set of six was a splatter gun aimed at maximum humiliation rather than a targeted strike which could do real damage.

Then midway through the tussle May put her foot on the ball, took a step back and cleverly reminded the House of Corbyn’s Article 50 moment: “Let’s remind ourselves of his position. His position was that we should have triggered Article 50 immediately after the referendum. With no work having being done for the preparations. He wouldn’t have even had a white page never mind a White Paper to base his negotiations on. And what would that have led to? They would have sold Britain out.”

She is right of course. And here lies Corbyn’s biggest problem with Brexit – he can hardly accuse May of mishandling it when he has never even come close to a clear policy for his own party. Labour is as big a shambles as the Tories.

Sensing his early momentum sliding, Corbyn puffed out his chest and went in for a rousing finale demanding: “Step aside!”

But sadly when he loses his cool in the Chamber he is more akin to an angry parent pitch side at an under-11 Sunday league game than a prime minister in waiting.

Verdict: 1-1 (But Corbyn missed a slew of chances)

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Support The New European's vital role as a voice for the 48%

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

  • Become a friend of The New European for a contribution of £48. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish)
  • Become a partner of The New European for a contribution of £240. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook
  • Become a patron of The New European for a contribution of £480. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook and an A3 print of The New European front cover of your choice, signed by Editor Matt Kelly

By proceeding, you agree to the New Europeans supporters club Terms & Conditions which can be found here.



Supporter Options

Mention Me in The New European



If Yes, Name to appear in The New European



Latest Articles

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Grassroots anti-Brexit campaigners are increasing the pressure on politicians ahead of a series of important votes this year. Here is a list of the events organised across Britain in the coming weeks and months.

Trending

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy