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Jeremy Corbyn dodges disaster but fails to inspire at PMQs

11 January 2017

1:36 PM

11 January 2017

1:36 PM

At PMQs today, Jeremy Corbyn didn’t have a disaster: there was no repeat of yesterday’s shambles. But he didn’t take full advantage of the opening he had. Yes, he went on the NHS—but he didn’t cause Theresa May as much trouble as he could have. There was no reference to the Times’ story this morning claiming that Downing Street is blaming Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the NHS. Nor did he manage to create any daylight between May and the Health Secretary over changes to the four-hour waiting target and Hunt’s warning that people turning up to A&E unnecessarily is a large part of the problem.

This isn’t to deny that the NHS is a risk for the Tories. The Tory benches were strikingly sombre during the May/ Corbyn exchanges, suggesting that Tory MPs know the political dangers of the current situation. But I doubt that any are more nervous after these exchanges than they were before.

Angus Robertson for his part went on the situation in Northern Ireland. Robertson, who has political cunning, wanted to know how the Northern Ireland executive could be consulted before Article 50 is invoked if there are elections there. May dismissed the argument. But I expect we will hear it again if, as seems almost certain, there are elections there.

At the end of PMQs, Nicky Morgan—who to Number 10’s irritation criticised the £995 leather trousers that Theresa May wore in a Sunday Times photoshoot—asked a question about child mental health. May’s reply was civil but her tone suggested that she hasn’t yet forgiven or forgotten Morgan’s previous comments.

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