After Theresa May performed an election U-turn on Monday and called for a snap election, today’s PMQs saw competing parties draw out their battle lines for the weeks ahead. The SNP’s Angus Robertson criticised May for dodging the TV debates and she in turn told the SNP to get on with the day job. Nigel Evans jumped on speculation over how ‘liberal’ Tim Farron’s Christian beliefs are. The Conservative MP asked the leader of the Liberal Democrats if he thought homosexuality was a sin — something Farron went on to deny.
While Conservatives were supportive of the Prime Minister’s decision to call a snap election, opposition MPs repeatedly accused May of being someone the public can no longer trust following her broken pledge. However, Corbyn’s claim that May could not be trusted was too broad to land a killer blow. When he went on to ask when (if ever) the Conservatives would eliminate the deficit, she simply pointed to Labour’s own plans for spending and borrowing — claiming the party would bankrupt the country if it had its way.
It was Yvette Cooper who proved the most effective opposition. In what could well be an early audition for a post-election Labour leadership contest, Cooper turned her wrath on May over the government U-turn:
‘The Prime Minister yesterday said she was calling a general election because Parliament was blocking Brexit. But three quarters of MPs and two thirds of the Lords voted for Article 50 – so that’s not true, is it. A month ago she told her official spokesman to rule out an early general election, and that wasn’t true either, was it.
She wants us to believe she is a woman of her word. Isn’t the truth that we cannot believe a single word she says?’
The question received a rousing response from the Labour benches, who looked temporarily cheered despite their current predicament. If there is a leadership challenge following the June election, expect Cooper to be a contender.