PMQs verdict: Back to school for May and Corbyn

PUBLISHED: 13:01 05 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:01 05 September 2018

Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London
Photo: PA

Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

The shorts are safely back in the drawer and the paddling pool has been deflated – Britain’s MPs are back to school.

Labour's front bench listens as  Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions
Photo: PALabour's front bench listens as Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions Photo: PA

But it has hardly been a restful, tranquil summer for the leaders of the two main parties.

Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have had to deal with – or ignore in Jezza’s case – growing crises within their own ranks.

There are plots developing to see the back of both of them: perhaps they were glad then to return to the dispatch box where at least they are expected to have a tussle.

Tory Maggie Throup teed the PM up to twist the knife into Labour’s already gaping anti-Semitism wound. Then, with real fire in her eyes, she demanded an apology from Corbyn to Britain’s Jews.

“There is no place for racism in our society,” Corbyn replied. No apology then.

After that shaky start from the Labour leader he quickly moved on to another subject where he has failed to cover himself in glory: Brexit.

No-deal Brexit was the specific topic. The prime minister rolled out her usual stock quotes before asking Corbyn to rule out a second referendum. He didn’t because – as much as it might pain him personally – Labour’s members want a People’s Vote.

“She can’t keep dancing around all the issues,” cue laughter across the House and even a knowing grin from the PM.

May finished strongly saying Corbyn should be ashamed of himself over the anti-Semitism scandal engulfing his party. He didn’t look ashamed.

So at least during PMQs the two leaders were safe. Neither had the fire power to cause any more damage to their opposite number. It is outside the chamber, yet within their own parties, that the real danger lies.

VERDICT: May shades it

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