It has been long time since a Labour leader has squeezed a Conservative Prime Minister on the economy. But that’s exactly what Jeremy Corbyn did at Prime Minister’s Questions this week.
On Wednesday 30 November at PMQs, Corbyn used statistics, data and forecasts to launch a series of attacks that have clearly destabilised Prime Minister Theresa May, who eventually conceded that our social care services were “under pressure”.
But from the first question, May was under fire as Corbyn launched an attack on the Autumn Statement.
Corbyn said that the Autumn Statement:
revealed the abject failure of this government’s economic strategy. Surely now the PM accepts her predecessor’s long-term economic plan was actually a failure?
May, who wasn’t expecting such question, barely claimed that firms such as Nissan or Google were investing in UK.
But this didn’t stop Corbyn, who then asked:
Why, in the fifty minute Autumn Statement was there not one mention of social care or the NHS?
The PM appeared to falter as she admitted:
There is absolutely no doubt the social care system is under pressure. We recognise that.
But Corbyn hit back and said:
There’s a tragic parallel going on between an underfunded NHS and underfunded social care system in this country. And she knows it.
So why is the government handing back £7.5bn of corporation tax cuts? Can the government explain that to the millions of pensioners worried about the triple lock – and to the millions of others?
But all the PM could do was brush off Labour’s economic criticism, and responding by ridiculing what she said was Labour’s policy to increase borrowing by £500bn. She then went on to claim that her government had put £3.8bn in funding into the NHS this year.
This was the same old trick from the PM; May didn’t answer any questions but tried to bully her opponent.
But Corbyn didn’t stop, and continued to push May on the failures of her government. He said:
Four million children living in poverty. Children are going hungry to school in this country because their parents don’t have enough money to feed them properly. That is a disgrace.
Corbyn also perfectly summarised the conservative, broad economic outlook when he said that growth and wages were all down, while borrowing and debt were up.
As always, all May could do was to mock Corbyn when the Labour leader made an early gaffe by confusing the IMF and IFS.
Serious questions should get serious answers.
All we learnt from the PM today was that “Christmas means Christmas”
When Tory MP Fiona Bruce said Christians are becoming “fearful” of discussing or mentioning their faith around Christmas whilst working, the PM answered:
I’m sure we would all want to ensure that people at work do feel they are able to speak about their faith and do feel they can speak quite freely about Christmas.
As you can see, when the PM thinks it’s important, she can answer the question.
But Christmas is also important for the four million children living in poverty in this country, that her government doesn’t seem to really care about.
Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth is right. The PM doesn’t understand that PMQs means PMQs:
Clear from the faces of Tory MPs they don't feel at all comfortable with Theresa May's lack of answers on social care underfunding #pmqs
— Jonathan Ashworth MP (@JonAshworth) November 30, 2016
We can only agree with Labour MP Barbara Keeley. May lives on a different planet to the rest of us.
— Barbara Keeley (@KeeleyMP) November 30, 2016
While Labour MP Justin Madders agrees with Corbyn, the prospect for all us are dreadful. But then, the PM isn’t one of us:
— Justin Madders MP (@justinmadders) November 30, 2016
It is very rare to see a Labour leader attacking a Conservative government on its economic approach, but that’s exactly what Corbyn did. Despite a minor gaffe, Corbyn pushed the government on the NHS and social care and he seems to have identified these as an area of weakness for the PM.
May used her usual bullying strategy against Corbyn and avoided answering any questions regarding how millions of people live in UK.
As the PM was more concerned about the true meaning of Christmas, we can surely all wonder if she really does live on a different planet to the rest of us.