HOUSE OF COMMONS NOTEBOOK
By Democrat editor Bill Heaney
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s clash with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer made it a colourful question time in the House of Commons today.
The people’s party’s knight in shining armour was so angry that he almost fell off his charger as he put the lance into the Tories, once again over Boris Johnston and Partygate.
He excoriated Mr Sunak for trying to blame the Labour party for the Prime Minister’s failure to sort out the strikes, which saw thousands marching in protest through Westminster, and told MPs that this was “rank pathetic”.
And he added: “The Tory party’s addiction to sleaze and scandal has done huge damage to this country, and the cost to the public keeps adding up.
“We have a justice system letting murderers walk the streets, heart attack victims waiting hours for an ambulance, and an economy that is shrinking quicker than the his leadership.
“Even I could not quite believe it when I saw that his Government are expecting taxpayers to pay the legal fees for Boris Johnson to defend himself over his lockdown rule breaking—a quarter of a million pounds!
“Surely even this Prime Minister can put his foot down, stand up to his old boss and tell him: he made the mess, he can pick up the bill.”
The Prime Minister was unfazed however. He said Sir Keir was incapable “of standing up to his union bosses, he cannot stand up for Britain’s schoolchildren today and he cannot stand up for the women in his party.
“We [the Conservatives] are getting on: we are halving inflation, we are growing the economy, we are reducing debt, we are cutting waiting lists and we are stopping the boats [asylum seeks crossing the channel].
“While he cannot even figure out what he believes in, we will keep delivering for Britain.”
However, even his fellow Tories wouldn’t swallow Mr Sunak’s “all’s well here” line.
Instead he turned to the sinking ship that is Brexit, which is drifting towards the rocks of oblivion for the Conservatives.
He said: “We have just marked the three-year anniversary of Brexit. Government Members will not be cheering in a moment, because we have learned three things: the UK’s trade deficit has grown, the economy is being hit to the tune of £100 billion each year and, of course, the UK is expected to have the worst-performing economy of all advanced nations. Does the Prime Minister still believe that the UK can afford not to be in the European Union?”
The Prime Minister answered that if Mr Flynn actually looked at it, he would find that since Brexit the UK has grown exactly the same as Germany.
“Not only that, but we are taking advantage of Brexit to deliver for people across the UK, whether that is in the fishing and farming communities of Scotland or through the two new freeports that we have just announced. The difference between his party and ours is that we respect referendums.”
Stephen Flynn refused to back off. He said: “Let us be clear: taken together, 2022 and 2023 are expected to be the worst years for living standards since the 1930s, and the economy is expected to perform worse than sanction-hit Russia’s.
“As the Brexit ship sinks with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition at the helm, can the Prime Minister blame those Scots who want to jump aboard the independence lifeboat?”
Ms Prentis told the Commons: “By convention, information on whether the Law Officers have been asked to provide advice and the content of such advice are not disclosed outside Government. That convention enables candid legal advice to be given.”