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Dennis Skinner’s antics put Jeremy Corbyn off at PMQs

24 January 2018

2:40 PM

24 January 2018

2:40 PM

Jeremy Corbyn has learnt from last week’s PMQs where Theresa May simply stood up and said she wasn’t going to answer as he hadn’t asked a question. His first two questions were short, sharp and to the point. He began by asking Theresa May if she agreed with Boris Johnson that the NHS needed an extra £5 billion. He followed that up by asking her who the public should believe about the NHS and the winter crisis, her or A&E doctors?

Then, Corbyn slightly lost his thread. But this wasn’t really his fault. The chamber was distracted by a vigorous row between Dennis Skinner and the SNP MP Angus MacNeil; at one-point Skinner rose from his seat to jab his finger at MacNeil. Facing Theresa May at the despatch box, Corbyn couldn’t see what was going on and was clearly distracted by the change in atmosphere in the chamber. After this, the exchanges between May and Corbyn on the NHS defaulted to their factory settings. May talked about Wales, Corbyn about people waiting on trollies.

May was clearly trying to be more personal at PMQs today. In answer to one question, she issued a plea for women to have smear tests when they are called for one.

One surprise about today’s session was that no one on the opposition benches brought up the Boles and Soames’ tweets lamenting the government’s lack of a domestic policy agenda. A witty backbencher could have had a lot of fun with them at the Prime Minister’s expense.

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