Mhairi Black’s hilarious PMQs take-down of Oliver Dowden

Oliver Dowden showed he could take a joke when Mairi Black cawd the legs from under the Deputy Prime Minister during PMQs.

By Bill Heaney

Updated Saturday, July 8, 2023

I told you yesterday in my Notebook column that Mairi Black would be much missed when she quits politics at the next General Election.
A sense of humour is sadly lacking from much of what goes on in politics, especially in places such as West Dunbartonshire Council’s office in Church Street.
Everyone smiled – even the victim – when Mairi surpassed herself during Prime Minister’s Questions at Westminster today.
It’s not often (ever) we leave PMQs feeling better than we did when it started, but thanks to the SNP’s deputy Commons leader Mhairi Black, we did just that.

Black, you might have seen, is stepping down at the next election, describing Westminster as an “outdated, sexist and toxic” working environment.

Her gain will be everyone else’s loss, including moments such as these when deputy PM – ha! – Oliver Dowden thought he had the better of her in the Commons on Wednesday.

Except he didn’t, he really didn’t, and it’s surely today’s best thing. Bet PM Rishi Sunak is delighted that he had better things to do and was across the street in Westminster Abbey at the time celebrating the 75th anniversary of the NHS.


If you want a longer clip for a bit of extra context …

And here are just a few of the reactions it prompted.


To conclude …

Source Twitter @Haggis_UK

Meanwhile, Stephen Flynn has said the “dregs of society” are responsible for attacking his deputy Mhairi Black who announced this week she will stand down at the General Election.

She blamed the “toxic” culture at the Houses of Parliament for her decision, although opponents said it was a further sign of the internal problems in the SNP as the party’s warring factions continue to blast away at each other.

Mr Flynn, who leads the Nats in the Commons, only promoted Ms Black to her current role in December. He said he agreed with her depiction of Westminster, adding that he found the ancient institution “dysfunctional” and “absurd”.

Speaking to The News Agents podcast, he added: “But I guess it’s more than that for Mhairi as well. I mean, Mhairi Black opens her mouth and says something and no matter how good it is, or how relevant it is, there’s a cohort of the dregs of society who just attack her and that takes its toll on individuals.

“And particularly, women have to deal with the brunt of that. And it’s not good enough. Society needs to reflect on that and people need to be sitting up and thinking, why is one of the most popular faces in UK, not just Scottish politics, walking away from Westminster? It’s because Westminster is not the place that normal people want to spend their lives.”

Mr Flynn said he “was aware of what Mhairi was intending to do” but insisted her decision had left her “a wee bit conflicted” because she is such a “phenomenal” politician.

He said: “Mhairi, when it comes to politics, is a rock star and her ability to connect with the public, I think is unmatched. She’s phenomenal. But on a personal level, I’m actually really happy for her because she’s been through a lot and I want the people that I like and know to be happy in life, and I genuinely think she’s going to be a happier person not being in Westminster.”

Ms Black is the sixth SNP MP to announce they would not be contesting the next election, following ex-party treasurer Douglas Chapman, Stewart Hosie, Peter Grant, Angela Crawley and Mr Flynn’s predecessor Ian Blackford.

However, he said he would not be joining the departures and insisted: “I want to continue for now because we’ve got a big challenge on our hands. There’s been well documented issues within the party. And you know, where there is a challenge, there’s an opportunity, and I see an opportunity for us to really drive home that journey to independence.

“And you know, what attracts me to that is being the person who walks past the statues outside the chamber as SNP MPs leave, then depart Westminster for good. That’s a big motivating factor for me. But of course, the personal challenges we all face are tough, and Mhairi has just decided it is better for her not to be there.”

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