PMQs verdict: Corbyn employs scattergun approach

PUBLISHED: 12:54 02 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:12 02 May 2018

PMQs
Photo: PA

PMQs Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Jeremy Corbyn covered lots of topics – clips for social media in mind – but again failed to make anything really stick.

Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions
Photo: PATheresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions Photo: PA

The Labour leader was quick out of the blocks asking “did the prime minister feel the slightest pang of guilt” when Amber Rudd was forced to resign? Ouch. May dodged that and instead gave an update on Windrush.

After landing a decent blow on the PM, Corbyn moved on to the economy highlighting the worst growth figures for five years. But his question wasn’t tight enough giving May the opportunity to list some economic positives.

Corbyn, beginning to get annoyed as he has a habit of as PMQs progresses, hit back with his own list: “More homeless, more children in poverty.”

And the list became a theme: NHS waiting lists, police budgets ... it was a back and forth of stats and counter stats.

Corbyn is right to go after the Tories on crime though – people are increasingly fearful of being burgled, attacked and whether their children are safe when they leave the house. And fear wins elections. But then so does hope.

He finished strongly. Although he did border on a tirade as he denounced the Tories for “damaging our NHS, damaging our children’s schools ... they claim to be strong and stable ... but with council tax rising by more than 5% across the country the truth facing voters tomorrow is you pay more and get less with the Tories”.

Guess what May answered with? A list.

But she finished well with a comparison of a street in Clapham. She explained how on one side of the road in Labour-run Lambeth council tax is more than £1,000 while just feet away in Wandsworth the annual bill is closer to £700. This cold, hard fact rescued PMQs for the PM who was facing defeat. And it acted as a timely pitch for votes in Wandsworth which the Tories could lose at the ballot box tomorrow.

Perhaps the most exciting moment was when Speaker John Bercow went off script and allowed Rudd the opportunity to ask a question. She had been trying to get his attention since midday ... notes in hand ... still smarting at being May’s human shield over Windrush ... But instead of ripping into the PM over the Windrush debacle or even Brexit she offered a tribute to those fighting terror. All very nice. For a moment the PM did look worried though, was this to be her own Geoffrey Howe moment? Sadly not.

VERDICT: 1-1 (last minute equaliser from the PM)

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