New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Election 2024
28 November 2018

PMQs: Jeremy Corbyn comfortably beats Theresa May in low-energy exchange

The Prime Minister was on the back foot but never faced the follow-up question that might have floored her.

By Stephen Bush

One of the mysteries of Theresa May is that while she is happy to trade freely in misleading statements – the repeated claim that “everyone said we couldn’t negotiate a deal with the EU”, the use of the phrase “implementation period” to refer to the transition period, her famous line that someone could not be deported from the United Kingdom because he had a cat, and so on – there is one lie she won’t tell: she won’t say that Britain is better off having voted to Leave.

Jeremy Corbyn used the bulk of his questions to unsettle her through a series of variations on that particular theme, with recent unhelpfully candid remarks from Jeremy Hunt – who said that the deal mitigated “most” of the worst aspects of Brexit – and Philip Hammond’s admission that we will be economically worse off as a result of leaving the European Union. May was embarrassed but managed to avoid trouble by moving onto other topics, and Corbyn’s inability to think on his feet meant that he, as usual, eschewed follow-up questions.

That meant that although he had far the better of the exchanges, he was never able to push on when her answers showed real uncertainty and vulnerability – on the Hunt point, he might perhaps have been better off repeating the question – May would never have answered it, but her unwillingness to say that Brexit is the right move unnerves pro-Brexit Conservative MPs and would deepen her difficulties as far as passing the Brexit deal goes.

Still, even without follow-up questions, Corbyn won comfortably, while May can at least breathe a sigh of relief that her political troubles are no worse at the end of PMQs than they were at the beginning.  

                                                                                                       

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce
How to reform the apprenticeship levy