It was a very lively exchange today between the two leaders, they have only been back a week, but they are now off on their jollies for the party conference season, may as well throw the kitchen sink at your opponent.
Weirdly Jeremy Corbyn had some corn sticking out from his jacket pocket. I was hoping he was making a joke about Theresa May dancing through fields of wheat, during her Jim Morrison period. However, as ever with Corbyn, it was for a serious cause, this time to back British Farmers.
Corbyn wanted know what the Farmers’ Union, Federation of Small Businesses, National Audit Office, Gingerbread, Royal Society of Arts, and a few others (I admit I couldn’t keep up) have in common?
May told the house that they provide excellent service to the nation, which is true. However, what they also have in common was that they think Universal Credit is deeply flawed.
Corbyn said that instead of lifting children out of poverty it was actually pushing more children and their families into financial distress.
May fought back and gave three examples of people who have really enjoyed the benefits of Universal Credit. It had turned Roberta’s life around and Ryan really liked his work coach.
I wonder how much research went into finding these three people. I reckon I could find 300 people who hate their experience with Universal Credit before the Tories can find another three positive examples.
Corbyn then asked if the PM would dispute her own Government survey that found that Universal Credit was making people struggle more than on their old benefits. Or perhaps the National Audit Office who found that in areas where it had been introduced it has caused huge problems.
May ignored all of Corbyn’s questions and recalled a single mother who came to her constituency surgery when Labour were in power (going back a bit now) who had been told that she would be better off on benefits than working.
The problem is that with Universal Credit a high proportion of the people struggling are in work. May’s single mother would be in no better position today.
Corbyn said he could also tell Brexit negotiations were an abject failure looking at the sullen faces behind the PM, and not just the ERG members. He said the Tories were also failing this country as there are a million using food banks, 4 million in child poverty and one million on zero hour contracts. May wasn’t challenging injustices, she was pouring petrol on the fire.
You have the feeling that like Brexit and academy schools, once the ball is rolling and still gathering moss, they will carry on with Universal Credit regardless.
Sycophantic question of the day
More of an odd one; Chris Philp, Con, asked a rambling question on Brexit, which he probably didn’t understand himself. However, May’s reply said that a no deal Brexit would mean we might not pay a divorce bill. A wet dream for the ERG, who only last night were plotting to oust her.
Universal credit to Corbyn possibly the only person to receive it on time.