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Corbyn is missing an opportunity each week at PMQs

17 January 2018

4:16 PM

17 January 2018

4:16 PM

Neither Theresa May nor Jeremy Corbyn are great Commons’ performers. PMQs is, more often than not these days, a no score draw.

Today’s exchanges were slightly better than usual. The collapse of Carillion is right in Jeremy Corbyn’s wheel-house. But, once again, his failure to be forensic let him down. At the end of the session, we didn’t know any more than we did at the beginning.

Corbyn failed to come back on the question of whether the government was awarding contracts to Carillion because of, not despite, its profit warnings. His blanket opposition to private sector involvement in the provision of public services also meant that he didn’t hammer home how the Tories have failed to break up the outsourcing oligopoly.

Now, the vast majority of voters don’t watch PMQs so some argue that Corbyn’s weakness in this forum doesn’t matter. Indeed, Corbyn has found a way to make PMQs work for him by pumping out his best moments on social media to pump up his own supporters. But Corbyn is missing an opportunity each week. Today was a chance to move the Carillion story on, to use his six questions to establish more about what the government knew and why it acted as it did. Corbyn didn’t take it.

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