PMQs 15th March – The lady is for U-turning

With about twenty minutes to go before PMQs the government announced a u-turn on raising NI for the self-employed.

My guess is the aim was to throw Corbyn a curve ball and see if he could punish them from his back foot and think on his feet.

It started with the most planted question since Charlie Dimmock buried one of Neil Hamilton’s under a bed of petunias in 1994 when he knew the police were onto him.

Huw Merriman, Con, said it was great his party had stuck by its manifesto pledge not to raise taxes.

This allowed May to say she would maintain their commitment not to raise tax. Without mentioning that this was only due to a huge public outcry, especially from the right-wing press. Leaving Hammond and May to both lose their backbones and reverse the decision within a week.

I am sure I am not the first person to think this, but May and Hammond look like brother and sister, maybe estranged at birth, but their intrinsic lack of compassion, social awkwardness and desire to rule brought them back together.

The Labour leader should have been able to stick the knife in, but instead he seemed to stick to his pre planned questions on education. On a couple of occasions he didn’t actually ask a question, but made a statement instead, which isn’t really the point of question time.

Corbyn’s attacks on May’s education policy are correct, and her rose-tinted grammar school project is totally misguided, but surely that was next week’s fight?

Somehow May managed to squeeze out of Hammond’s budget mess, and she really isn’t a smooth operator. Even the most ardent Momentum member would agree Corbyn failed to put May to the sword today. If they didn’t agree then he really has achieved demi-god status. It was as if he cares for the needy so much, he had to help May out.

Angus Roberson, SNP, then had a go at May over not consulting the Scots over Brexit. He told May off for wagging her finger at him, while wagging his finger, which was farcical.

In fact the SNP member who made the best point was Callum McCaig, SNP, who said the UK has one of the worst performing currencies, £1.7tn national debt, and half-jokingly asked, “Does the PM believe the England can survive as an independent country?”

May hit back saying that UK had reduced the deficit, employment was at a record high (didn’t mention the million people on zero hours contracts) and lowest unemployment since 1975 (under a Labour government, she didn’t mention that either). May got away with it, her u-turn had turned into a u-boat and slipped under the sea undetected and with minimal damage.

Sycophantic question of the day

Victoria Atkins, Con, who used PMQs for a bit of product placement and told the house how good award-winning Lincolnshire sausages are. May said she remembered sampling them during her last visit, and after last week’s weird laughing fit, I wondered how odd she looks when she eats. Bet it is worse than Ed Miliband eating a bacon sarnie.

Winner

Self employed white van men and consultants on £700 a day who fiddle the tax system.

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