PMQs verdict: May’s avoidance tactics land her in it

PUBLISHED: 13:44 06 June 2018

Jeremy Corbyn 
Photo: PA

Jeremy Corbyn Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

They call it “prime minister’s question time” – which suggests the premier really should answer some.

Prime minister Theresa May
Photo: PAPrime minister Theresa May Photo: PA

But, alas, not today.

It was a brave move for Jeremy Corbyn to dedicate all six of his questions to Brexit – especially with failing Chris Grayling wobbling over the rail fiasco in Labour’s heartlands in the North (he did manage a deft segue into the railways towards the end though as Grayling looked on in horror).

The Labour leader opened with: “Last month the Brexit secretary promised ‘a detailed, ambitious and precise white paper on the negotiating position’ ... will it be published in advance of the debate next week?”

She ignored that.

Unperturbed Corbyn said: “Can the prime minister assure the house it will be published before the crucial June summit and the House will be able to debate it?”

She ignored that but attempted a retort: “Perhaps the right honourable gentleman would like to take the opportunity to do what he refused to do a few weeks ago in this chamber and stand up and rule out a second referendum?”

He ignored that.

Then Corbyn went after the customs union issue, the one which could do real damage to May: “Four weeks ago the prime minister did confirm that the cabinet was looking for two options for the customs union ... which of her sub committees have met, what decisions have been made ... when they will report to the cabinet and will we be told about it?”

She ignored that.

Sensing the avoidance theme Corbyn stayed calm – something he has failed to do in the past – and kept on asking: “Last week the Brexit secretary put forward another new plan including a 10-mile buffer zone in Northern Ireland – is that now the government’s option?”

She ignored that.

Then Corbyn landed his first real blow and followed it up with the knockout: “Can the PM confirm it remains her plan to leave the EU in March 2019 and complete the transition by December 2020.

Finally, she answered one: “Yes.”

But then came Corbyn’s best moment at PMQs for some time: “Ahhhh ... well Mr Speaker ... I look at the faces behind her and they are not all of one on this ... When it comes to Brexit this government has delivered more cancellations and more delays than Northern Rail. The government’s white paper is delayed, its customs proposals have been cancelled and it has ripped up its own timetable. This government’s incompetence threatens our economy, business, jobs and communities ... my question to the prime minister is this: which will last longer, the Northern Rail franchise or her premiership?”

She ignored that.

VERDICT: Corbyn 2 May 0

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