PMQs today was a missed opportunity for Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn chose to go on the NHS, rather than Donald Trump’s border policy. But this needn’t have been a mistake. Corbyn, after a rather long preamble, started off by asking what taxes would rise to pay for this increased spending. Theresa May replied that Philip Hammond would set all this out in due course. At this point, Corbyn should have asked May to rule out specific tax increases, for example an increase in National Insurance, or to embrace certain measures, such as removing the earnings cap on National Insurance contributions. This would have put May on the spot more. Instead, he kept his questions general, allowing May to block away with relative ease.
The SNP leader Ian Blackford asked May about the United States now separating children from their parents when families cross into the country illegally. May said that what was happening was ‘wrong’ and strongly implied that she would raise the matter with Donald Trump on his visit here next month. One suspects that May is going to get used to defending this invitation to Trump over the next few weeks.
But perhaps the most dramatic moment of the session came when the Labour backbencher Lisa Nandy revealed that she had a series of leaked emails. She said that these showed that the Department for Transport was planning to shut various northern rail routes as long ago as 2015, despite ministers saying these routes would be saved. Expect to hear more on this shortly.