Yesterday David Davis, Con, told the house that a White Paper over Brexit was basically impossible in the time frame before invoking article 50, but at today’s PMQs Teresa May announced there would be one after all, responding to a planted question from Chris Philp, Con.
So during the previous 24 hours the Government has listened/u-turned (delete as appropriate) and told the country they will now produce a White Paper, which was effectively ruled out the previous day.
Instead of playing into Corbyn’s hands it seemed to blindside him a bit; he was ready to be angry about there not being one. He had obviously worked himself up, so continued to attack May, mainly on his concerns over Brexit making Britain the “bargain basement of Europe.”
Anyway, May doesn’t see it that way, she labelled her plan a “bold vision for Britain.” Perhaps she sees a 99p shop standing next to a pound shop and imagines guile and business acumen. Others might describe it as a race to the bottom, a desperate plea for customers and, most importantly, always having a pocket full of unwanted pennies.
The Labour leader did ask if May would congratulate the 100,000 plus people who marched for women’s rights across the UK, would she express concerns about Trump’s misogyny when she meets him next week and could she also ensure that he won’t push for US takeover of NHS services.
May didn’t thank the people who campaigned for decency towards women, or confirm that American companies won’t plunder our national health service for profit. Instead she said that Corbyn would never have any form of special relationship with the US president. It got me thinking about what on earth they could find common ground on, if they ever met.
Well, they are both on wife number three and their newest wives are over 20 years younger than themselves, so actually they probably have a lot more in common then May does with the President elect. Bellyaching about your ex-wives is less dangerous than getting him worked up about North Korea.
One thing May and Trump probably wouldn’t agree on is Russia; Sir Gerald Howarth, Con, was concerned about the Ukraine and to ensure that Russian aggression stops. May said she supports the war-torn country against the Russian Bear. Perhaps she should direct some nuclear warheads at the Soviet troops amassed on Eastern Ukrainian border. By my calculation if we pointed the warheads at County Mayo and fired, that would hit the target.
Ed Miliband, Lab, almost a national treasure these days, asked May if she had a responsibility to stand up to Trump (I assume he is referring to Michael Gove’s complete failure to be a journalist or politician when he met him). Miliband pressed May to ensure Trump stands by the Paris climate change treaty and persuade him it is not a hoax set up by the Chinese. I won’t hold my high toxicity London breath on that one.
Staying on the Trump theme, Andrew Tyrie, Con, stood up and begged the PM not to support Trump’s plans to bring back torture. She said they were very clear on the British position on torture. Fittingly the next person to ask a question was Andy Slaughter.
Sycophantic question of the day
Liam Stewart, Con, nearly got it for mentioning it was Milton Keynes 50th birthday, the most successful of the new towns, which was greeted with good-natured laughter from all sides. New towns always do.
But it goes to May who congratulated herself on being the first foreign power to meet with Mr Trump.
Definitely not Crawley, Bracknell or Skelmersdale.