Parliamentary Sketch

PMQs 7th December – Universally Challenged

The PM was in Bahrain to “turbo-charge” the UK’s trade in the Gulf, I guess that is code for “sell more heavy weaponry to the Saudi Government to shoot civilians.” To be fair she can drop off a bit of hardware for the Bahrainis while she is there, rude not to.

Additionally the main debate today was after PMQs, regarding Brexit (after finally being allowed to do it) so this was a bit of a non-event, sorry.

However, sombre as ever, Angus Robertson, SNP, made some good points about the Government closing job centres in the most deprived areas of Glasgow. They will literally have to get on their bikes now, sadly only to travel to the place that might punish them for not having a job, rather than provide an actual paid position.

The Leader of the House of Commons, David Lidington, stepped in for Theresa May today. Who is he I hear you ask? Well he won University Challenge in 1987; some would say he peaked then.

Mr Lidington then worked for BP, Rio Tinto mining before being caught up in the expenses scandal. He claimed for toiletries and vitamin supplements for his second home and claimed £1,300 for dry cleaning. Another fine upstanding politician, we should all look up to, I’m sure you agree.

It will surprise nobody that he went to an elite boys’ school and won the egghead prize while at Cambridge University. Maybe he wouldn’t have done so well, on the show, if Paxo asked: “which Minister has a serious and workable plan to remain part of the single market, but at the same time leave the single market?”

What might irk the Brexiteers most about his appearance today (the Chancellor or Home Sec could easily have stepped in) isn’t his elite background, but that he was a prominent Remainer in the EU referendum campaign.

Lidington went up against Emily Thornberry, who hates the idea of leaving the EU as much as Lidington presumably still does in secret.

Later in the chamber, during the Brexit debate, Ken Clarke said that the choices which are “now being struggled with”, such as membership of the customs union, “are a mystery to 99%” of the people who voted in the referendum”. I don’t think the percentage of members of the house who understand it, are that much lower.

As Thornberry pressed Lidington over Brexit and the importance of remaining in the customs union, Lidington fought back saying Labour were “quarrelling like Mutiny On The Bounty as re-shot by the Carry On team”.

The Tories have hardly covered themselves in glory lately and could quite easily be the stars in Carry On Regardless (1961),Carry On England (1976) or maybe even Carry On Dick (1974), ironically filmed just before the UK voted to join the Common Market in the first place.

Sycophantic question of the day

More of a tragic tale of unrequited love as Stephen Gethins, SNP, said an Irish minister told him the UK was like a husband that applied for a divorce but wanted to keep the house and all the assets. Which makes you think the rest of Europe is thinking: “Why did you marry him in the first place.”


Sidney Sussex College University Challenge winners 1987.

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