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PMQs: If only Theresa May had been this aggressive towards the EU

10 July 2019

5:24 PM

10 July 2019

5:24 PM

The US jobs miracle continues. Donald Trump has just created another vacancy at the British embassy in Washington. Sir Kim Darroch’s resignation was the opening issue at PMQs and Theresa May expressed her shock and regret at the diplomat’s departure, ‘after a lifetime of service to this country,’ she added pointedly. Sir Kim isn’t the only victim of an unfair campaign to oust him.

The PM usually favours formal attire at PMQs but today she was sporting a white t-shirt and a knee-length kung-fu jacket. Lime green, loose around the bust and faintly shiny, it looked like a sex club bathrobe.

Jeremy Corbyn brought up her ‘burning injustices’ speech when she entered Downing Street. The PM defended herself with a list of her achievements in office. Here’s a flavour.

‘The Race Disparity Audit shines a light on inequality in public services which is enabling us to put measures into place that enable us to ensure that people across this country whatever their background will have access to the services they need.’

These witty insights will form the basis of her performances on the after-dinner circuit. (No need to book in advance). But apart from that lapse, she did pretty well. She’s keen to correct the impression that she was solely responsible for the Windrush scandal. And she’s particularly concerned that history will portray her as a Powellite xenophobe who deported Caribbean migrants by the boat-load. Having done her homework she revealed that only 18 migrants had been removed incorrectly. ‘And of these six were deported under the last Labour government.’

Then she rounded on Corbyn. She damned his hypocrisy on the EU, on anti-Semitism, on malpractice in the workplace.

‘Labour policy is to ban NDAs but his staff have to sign them,’ she crowed. And she summed up Labour’s creed in three verbal stun-bombs.

‘Tax! Tax! Tax!’

Then she sat down.

Such verve. Such power. But such a waste. Why didn’t she talk like that to the EU? As she paused for breath she was cheered by throngs of Tory MPs. ‘More, more!’ they cried, shamelessly.

More? They spent most of the year plotting to dethrone her. Now she’s off they love her.

Brexit-nobbling backbencher, Simon Hoare, stood up and introduced himself as the member for agricultural North Dorsetshire. His fruity tones rang out as he warned that farmers fear a loss of income from no deal.

‘WTO means RIP for British agriculture,’ claimed Squire Hoare.

Food exports are certainly vulnerable. But so are imports. And the solution lies in symmetry. As less food arrives from the continent, home-grown produce will become scarcer and therefore pricier, supporting farmer’s incomes. Perhaps Squire Hoare is fretting about nothing.

That would be bad news for Ian Blackford, of the SNP, who no longer asks questions at PMQs. He makes speeches hoping to spread misery in all directions.

‘Today is Srebrenica Day,’ he intoned, wobbling with indignation as he recalled the worst episode of the Bosnian conflict. He omitted to mention that his beloved EU, which poses as a peace movement, failed to intervene over Srebrenica, as it did over Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Ukraine, and elsewhere.

The session ended on a cheerful note. Bim Afolami announced that his round-table conference on the environment needs a guest-speaker. He invited the PM.

‘I’ll look to see how busy my diary is,’ said May. ‘You never know I might have a bit more free time in the autumn.’


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