PMQs Live – Northern Ireland protocol, Starmer goes soft on PM 

PMQs Live - Northern Ireland protocol, Starmer goes soft on PM 

PMQs Live – Northern Ireland protocol, Starmer goes soft on PM

Prime Ministers’ Questions has ended and it wasn’t as lively as some expected – Labour focused more on policy areas than the PM’s character following the Confidence vote (though there were some digs). The BBC said “there were questions on energy costs, Ukrainian refugees and passport waiting times – a reminder that Johnson doesn’t lack challenges outside of party politics. Discontent with his leadership hasn’t gone away. But perhaps, for now, he’s got a bit of breathing space after he survived this week’s confidence vote.”

What happened at PMQs?

Prime Minister’s Questions has just drawn to a close and Boris Johnson and many other MPs are leaving the chamber. – (BBC)

What did we learn from today’s session?

The prime minister insisted “absolutely nothing and no-one is going to stop” him delivering his agenda of “delivering for the British people”.

In a long political career so far – barely begun – I’ve of course picked up political opponents all over and that is because this government has done some very big and very remarkable things which they didn’t necessarily approve of. – Boris Johnson

Sir Keir Starmer joked about the division within the Conservative Party but focused his questions on problems in the NHS including waiting lists claiming things were “getting worse” under Boris Johnson’s leadership.

Pretending no rules were broken didn’t work, pretending the economy is booming didn’t work, and pretending to build 40 new hospitals won’t work either. They want him to change – but he can’t. – Keir Starmer

Boris Johnson defended the government’s handling of the NHS, criticising Labour’s record when in government. He insisted the government was focused on levelling up, offering tutoring, expanding home ownership, and cutting costs for business.

Meanwhile, the SNP’s leader in Westminster Ian Blackford MP reiterated his call for Boris Johnson to resign, calling him a “lame duck prime minister”.

No amount of denial will save the prime minister – for once in his life he needs to wake up – it’s over, it’s done. –  Ian Blackford MP

Breaking the Northern Ireland protocol? 

Colum Eastwood, the SDLP leader, asks Johnson for a commitment that he will not break international law.

He is referring to the Northern Ireland protocol and this report about advice that disapplying parts of the protocol might be illegal.

Johnson says the reports Eastwood has seen are not true. – (Guardian

Scotland to be stuck with govt it hasn’t voted for since 1955 

Ian Blackford says PM is a lame duck PM presiding over a divided party in a disunited kingdom. 

PM says he wants to thank Blackford for his “characteristic warm words.” He says Blackford is a benefit to unionism. 

Blackford says PM is acting like the black knight in Monty Python saying it’s just a flesh wound. He asks how is it democratic for Scotland to be stuck with a PM they don’t trust and a Tory govt they haven’t voted for since 1955. 

PM says Blackford wants independence, but our country is independent and that would only be reversed if we had “the disaster of a Labour/SNP government” taking the UK back into the EU. 


Concern over sewage flowing into streams

With a wry acknowledgement of the abrupt change of topic, and to laughter from the green benches, Conservative Sir Oliver Heald asks about sewage overflows into “precious chalk streams” in North East Hertfordshire.

Johnson says the government’s sewage plan is leading to improvements, and water companies must do more to deliver on their obligations. – (BBC)

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