Tag Archives: Prime Minister’s Questions

Peter Stefanovic demolishes Rishi Sunak’s PMQs lies

Rishi Sunak at PMQs: the mouth is open but he has nothing worthwhile to say [archive image].

Can you believe some people are actually gaslit by the drivel that spouts out of Rishi Sunak’s mouth during Prime Minister’s Questions?

They deny the facts of their own senses to believe that we’re all better-off – and actually “levelling up”, whatever that means. With whom?

This Writer, for one, would like to see Rishi Sunak make an earnest commitment for us all to level up with the kind of earnings and savings he and his wife make every year. That might be worth something.

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As it is, his rhetoric is nothing but empty gas, that probably comes with an odour of rotting things.

I’m just glad the excellent Peter Stefanovic is around to put the facts to Sunak’s fiction because it means I don’t have to:


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Rishi Sunak’s weasel words can’t hide the lie: Tories WERE called out on crumbling schools, long ago

Crash: this is what happens when RAAC concrete in a school roof fails.

Rishi Sunak has been caught lying in Prime Minister’s Questions again.

He said Opposition leader Keir Starmer had never raised the issue of crumbling schools with him before PMQs on Wednesday (September 6) – but this is not true.

Here’s what Sunak said:

With hindsight, the Tories have rushed to claim that Sunak meant Starmer had never mentioned RAAC concrete in schools before Wednesday – you can see it in Greg Hands’s ‘X’ post above, and in Michele Donelan’s response to Kate Garraway, below:

But these are weasel words. You can hear Sunak’s words for yourself, so you know he didn’t mention RAAC concrete. If he didn’t, then it is misleading of these other Tories to do so afterwards.

It seems that, when Sunak was bandying the words “Captain Hindsight” around, he was pointing in the wrong direction.


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Rishi Sunak caught lying about Tory achievements in local government?

Rishi Sunak in Parliament: he should check his facts before speaking – or was he just sneaking out a lie and hoping we wouldn’t notice?

Conservative prime minister Rishi Sunak seems to have over-emphasized his party’s achievements in local government, as This Writer pointed out in a tweet:

I mentioned Guildford because the situation there was highlighted on Twitter recently, as follows:

So in this local government area, the Tories have increased council tax to the limit and have been cutting services – the exact opposite of the claim in Prime Minister’s Questions.

What’s the situation in your local government area?


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Crime triggers acrimonious exchange at PMQs

Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner ripped Dominic Raab a new one in a punitive masterclass on how to take apart a political opponent, using his government’s failures and his own record against him.

During a Prime Minister’s Questions that was led by the government and opposition’s deputy leaders, due to the funeral of former Speaker Betty Boothroyd, Rayner began by focusing on the government’s new anti-social behaviour strategy that she said had taken 13 years to arrive and could best be applied to Raab himself (referring to charges of bullying against him).

His best response was that he had never called anybody “scum” (a reference to her use of the word to describe members of his party).

Moving on to attack the Tory record on crime in general, Rayner quoted shocking figures that show 300 rapes take place every day but women brave enough to report them have just a 1.6 per cent chance of ever seeing their attacker face justice in court.

Raab’s response that 69 per cent of such cases result in conviction was pathetically weak; he was saying only one in every 100 rapes ever results in a conviction.

The figure supports Baroness Casey’s damning report on the “institutionally sexist” Metropolitan Police, which stated that rape might as well be legal in London.

And worse was to follow, with the revelation that the average wait for a rape case to reach court is now three years, and 175 have been abandoned because the victim was so brutalised by the experience that she felt unable to go on.

These are damning figures for which Raab had no coherent response.

And that’s the most damning part of it, because Dominic Raab is also the UK’s Secretary of State for Justice.


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Are these the facts about Matt Hancock’s Covid 19 care homes blunder?

Matt Hancock: Blunderman strikes again.

The cache of 100,000 WhatsApp messages by Matt Hancock about Covid-19, from 2020, in which he discussed delaying or failing to test people going into care homes from the community, got a thorough airing on the BBC’s Politics Live and in Parliament during Prime Minister’s Questions.

PMQs focused mostly on the fact that information about the government’s behaviour during the Covid crisis is starting to drip out piecemeal, meaning it is now a matter of urgency that the independent inquiry into the response to the pandemic be concluded and report in good time.

The discussion on the talk show was more about the content of the messages – and did, in fact, touch on the fact that these messages all came long after the big decisions about testing for Covid-19 in care homes had already been made.

Hancock had known since February that year that people from the community, coming into homes, were infecting the people living there, and since March that people there were dying of Covid-19.

He chose to do nothing about it until April – and then, as the messages indicate, he didn’t do enough.

So, is this a storm in a teacup?

Judge for yourself:


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Prime Minister’s Questions with Liz Truss – she answered, but not well

This Writer was away from his desk yesterday (Wednesday, September 7, 2022) because I was on a mercy mission – taking a family member to hospital.

So I’m relying on this video and BBC News (heaven help me!) for my information:

Interesting stuff.

So Liz Truss actually bothered to answer the questions. Was this because she doesn’t have the imagination to distract us with nonsense or divert us onto another subject? I find the latter likely but the former incredible, considering the amount of nonsense with which she regaled us all during her Tory leadership election campaign.

Ah, but her answers were useless. That’s more familiar ground. In fact, it seems clear that if the energy generation companies aren’t going to be made to subsidise our increased bills with their profits (which would be an excellent way of ‘chilling’ them – discouraging them from charging so much in the first place), the onus will fall to the general public.

This seems likely to take the form of a loan scheme, under which households will be forced to pay back the extra cost of their energy bills over a longer period of time, alongside whatever their energy will cost at that time.

This has the potential to put us all in perpetual debt. It reminds This Writer of an idea called the zombie economy, in which the working classes are kept in perpetual slavery to the business owners and politicians because they are forced to keep working in order to service ever-increasing debts that have been foisted on them, along with high government taxes.

Doesn’t that seem to be what’s happening?

Truss contradicted herself somewhat by saying she wants a high-wage economy. That would undermine the zombie plan – if it were true – but, as Phil Moorhouse points out, Boris Johnson said he wanted a high-wage economy too – and then told everybody to get back to work, the instant they started demanding it.

She said her energy plan would help business – so now we all want to know howIf she doesn’t help businesses, they’ll go under, and that’s a bad thing.

There’s a good sideswipe in the clip at the idiot Austerity policy of David Cameron and George Osborne: cut spending and you shrink the economy. The more they cut government expenditure, the lower tax receipts fell – because the money the government had been spending generated growth. And what did they do in response? They repeated the same mistake, expecting a different result (which is now a well-known definition of madness).

It seems tax-cutter Truss wants to repeat the mistake again – this time by cutting tax receipts first and claiming there isn’t the money to carry on spending on public services (the infamous Starve The Beast policy).

Truss said she would publish her energy plans today (Thursday) – meaning she’ll face a full week of debate in Parliament. That could be embarrassing – unless she merely announces aims.

And it seems she wanted to launch a catchphrase: “You can’t tax a country to growth, you know!” Except you can. History shows a clear correlation between GDP and tax revenues.

She said cutting Corporation Tax would lead to more businesses relocating to the UK – but in fact they are leaving, because of Brexit (which Truss used to oppose but now supports because she is in turn supported by the European Research Group loonies).

And Truss thinks the Northern Ireland Protocol contradicts the Good Friday Agreement – when it in fact protects the Good Friday Agreement.

So, Liz Truss actually answered the questions. But considering the nature of her answers, we can make an easy conclusion:

She is out of her depth.

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Coronavirus: Johnson is floundering toward lifting the lockdown too soon because he wants happy headlines

Boris Johnson: this is an old image but it perfectly sums up the character he displayed in Prime Minister’s Questions.

Let’s give Boris Johnson a new nickname. After his performance in Prime Minister’s Questions – and a recent viewing of a favourite comedy movie – This Writer believes he should be called Flounder.

I’m not saying that because he resembles the stupid-but-saveable character in the movie (the Parliamentary version of which would no doubt be entitled Animal House of Commons) – but because it’s how he spent his first session answer questions from Keir Starmer, the new Labour leader.

Starmer’s no silver-tongued sweet-talker; he’s a plodder. But he plodded rings round Flounder as the prime minister desperately sought an upside to the catalogue of catastrophes we know as his record of handling the coronavirus crisis.

Faced with the government’s failure to hit its target of 100,000 coronavirus tests per day – and the obvious fact that the claim to have done so on April 30 was a lie, Flounder set a new target of 200,000 by the end of this month (while health secretary Matt Hancock blanched visibly behind him):

For clarity:

Latest figures show 69,463 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the 24 hours to 9am on Wednesday, well short of the 100,000 benchmark.

The total was 84,806 up to 9am on Tuesday, 85,186 up to 9am on Monday and 76,496 up to 9am on Sunday.

Perhaps realising he had dug another ditch for himself to die in, Flounder latched on to the only other big question – when he is likely to lift the lockdown.

So he took a gamble and hinted that something might happen on Monday:

There’s only one problem with that: the figures suggest that it is far too early to even think of lifting the lockdown.

The UK is still experiencing more than 6,000 new coronavirus infections per day, along with more than 600 deaths. Those with the intelligence to understand what this means know perfectly well what lifting the lockdown will signify:

For clarity:

Suicide by the Tories, maybe.

For most of us, the victims of their policies, it will be mass murder.

Flounder will end up, as John Crace states in his Guardian commentary (that was overly obsequious to Starmer, in This Writer’s opinion), “with blood on his hands that no amount of washing for 20 seconds while singing Happy Birthday can get clean”.

Some might call it pointless death, but that would not be true.

If Flounder lifts the lockdown, and it triggers a second peak in coronavirus infections and deaths, it will happen for just one reason:

Boris Johnson was struggling, and thought he could help himself out with a happy headline.

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Corbyn humiliates Johnson over Greggs bonus – that might as well be a donation to the government

Remember the £300 bonus Greggs bakery was offering to staff?

The one that Ally Fogg on Twitter said might as well be a £7 million donation to the Treasury because most employees are on Universal Credit and the system will claw back the cash?

Jeremy Corbyn does.

Having researched the issue, he has worked out that most workers will retain only £75 – a quarter of the bonus. The rest will go to the Treasury.

So he took Boris Johnson to task over it in Prime Minister’s Questions on January 22:

All he got back – all we got – was more bluster and bumbling from an amateur politician who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

It’s clear that the only people taking home more of our workers’ pay are in the Tory government.

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Prime Minister’s Questions with Mrs Mike

Dominic Raab: If he had heard some of the things Mrs Mike said about him while he was standing in for Boris Johnson at PMQs today, his ears may well have turned blue and fallen off.

Mrs Mike swears at politicians.

Admittedly, she only swears at them on the TV – she would never be so rude to their faces (except in certain extreme cases, or the case of certain extremists) – and mostly during Prime Minister’s Questions.

I’ve been looking for a way to share this with you for a considerable period of time – partly because I think the reaction of someone who isn’t a professional pundit may be informative – and finally wore her down with a promise to ‘bleep’ out some of the words she uses with appropriate sound effects.

Thus was born PMQs with Mrs Mike.

This is a pilot project; a first effort to see how it goes, if you like. It happened on a day when Boris Johnson was dodging the bullets, having arranged to make his speech to the Conservative conference at the same time like the coward he is.

Instead, Dominic Raab took the flak from my significant other. What follows is a selection of her output, taken from questions by backbenchers.

Here’s the clip:

Constructive criticism will be welcomed as I’m hoping to make this a regular occurrence.

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Tory double standards: Abuse them and the police are called – but they can abuse anyone freely

Pointing the finger: A Conservative MP shouts at Commons Speaker John Bercow during discussion of the Grieve Amendment.

Conservative MPs have been at their abusive worst in Parliament – heckling Speaker John Bercow over his decision to allow a vote on the so-called Grieve Amendment, and hurling insults at Jeremy Corbyn, ironically as he called for a “safe space” from such behaviour during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The hypocrisy comes into sharp focus when one recalls that only two days before, Conservative MPs wrote to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, demanding stronger policing of the area outside the Palace of Westminster to prevent abuse of the kind directed at Conservative MP Anna Soubry by (right-wing pro-Brexit) protesters on Monday.

Note that I put “right wing pro-Brexit” in parentheses because there seems to be a concerted effort to airbrush this fact out of the record, along with the abuse of left-wing journalist Owen Jones by the same people. We’ll come to that shortly.

First, let’s consider yesterday’s Parliamentary antics, starting with the Grieve Amendment. Tory backbencher and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve had proposed an amendment to legislation that gives the government 21 days to say what happens next if its Brexit deal is voted down, and a further seven sitting days (days in which Parliament is in session) in which to hold a vote.

The amendment reduces the time allowed before a statement is made to just three days. It isn’t binding, but it would be extremely damaging to Theresa May if she failed to do so.

MPs objected because they claimed the original legislation was unamendable. Mr Bercow held a different view:

Let’s see if I can dig out some examples of the behaviour he had to endure. Here’s Arj Singh:

That’s mild. Try this:

Mr Clarke’s reference was to the right-wingers who abused Ms Soubry and Mr Jones, and hints as to the attitudes he saw being expressed around him.

Then we had the hypocrisy of the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom:

Here’s the icing on this particularly rotten cake – the moment when Tory MP Adam Holloway accused Mr Bercow of trying to sabotage Brexit, claiming as evidence that the Speaker has a pro-Remain sticker on his car. The slapdown was brilliant:

https://twitter.com/SidUnite/status/1083002551493189637

It seems clear that the behaviour of these Conservatives lowered the tone of debate in the Commons and arguably harmed the reputation of Parliament itself – although some would say that this cannot happen as they have already damaged it irreparably:

The arguments over the Amendment were – sadly – only a sequel to a similar unseemly display during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Both Mrs May and Mr Corbyn mentioned the intimidation of Ms Soubry and Mr Jones on Monday. The prime minister said politicians and the media should be able to go about their work without harassment and intimidation.

Sadly, her backbenchers did not pay any attention to her (perhaps cementing our opinion that she is no leader) and poured abuse at Mr Corbyn while he agreed with her. He said: “We also have to be clear that intimidation is wrong outside this building as it is wrong in any other aspect of life in this country, and we have to create a safe space for political debate.”

By this point, the level of heckling had reached a point beyond which he could not continue, so he pointed it out: “You see what I mean, Mr Speaker; I am calling for a safe space for political debate.”

The Tory perpetrators may have enjoyed themselves but the public drew the appropriate conclusions, as the following comments bear out:

https://twitter.com/Wirral_In_It/status/1082976660322955264

And of course, that is what they have been trying to do.

Possibly worse than the habitually abusive behaviour of Tory MPs is the apparent attempt to pretend that the only person suffering abuse on College Green on Monday was Ms Soubry.

I myself was so surprised to see her mentioned on the BBC’s lunchtime Politics Live show – and not Owen Jones, who is a frequent panellist there – that I actually raised the matter with editor Rob Burley. Here’s the dialogue:

What do you think of that?

More concerning still were the efforts to mitigate the effect of Mr Burley’s choice – which was to play up the effect on Ms Soubry and play down that on Mr Jones – by members of the public. Here’s one such comment:

Owen Jones himself put that comment in its place, in a response to information from Channel 4 News reporter Michael Crick that – as with the BBC – attempted to excise the abuse of Mr Jones from the record:

Left-wing members of the public have made it clear that they are not going to accept this kind of misreporting from the mainstream media:

If you are confused as to the reason television news reporters have tried to play down the targeting of people who represent the Left by people who are for all intents and purposes fascists, I refer you to this perceptive comment by Mr Jones, that makes it clear that the mainstream media have legitimised it:

The attitudes we have seen are sickening: Right-wing MPs have shown they are happy to abuse others before TV cameras in the Palace of Westminster, while decrying the same behaviour against their own by members of the public who were filmed on mobile phones, as their cronies in the mass media do their best to make it seem that they are the victims – when in fact they have stoked the extreme attitudes that lead to such abuse, threatening behaviour and, ultimately, violence.

These are our elected representatives but if this is how they conduct themselves, they do not represent me. We must demand better.

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