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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Corbyn Takes May Apart At #PMQs - Now Questions Need Answers

Even the most ardent anti-Corbynista would have to admit that Jeremy Corbyn landed a hefty blow at PMQs this week. If you've not yet seen PMQs there's a link with today's highlights so you can see for yourself.

Corbyn isn't known for pulling a rabbit out of the hat, but today he pulled out the entire warren. He accused Theresa May of doing a “sweetheart deal” with a wealthy Conservative council to stop them raising council tax by 15%. 

Surrey County Council was due to hold a referendum to raise the local tax after warning that the social care system would be unsustainable without a sharp funding rise. The vote, however, was abruptly cancelled on Tuesday. Jeremy Corbyn produced leaked misdirected texts, apparently from the flagship Tory council’s leader to a central government civil servant which suggested a “memorandum of understanding” had been reached to find a “solution”.

Isn't it strange that the supposed 'war on austerity' that started in Surrey, was dropped rather quickly, by the same man that started it, in less than a month. Senior cabinet ministers such as Jeremy Hunt and Phillip Hammond have constituencies in Surrey. Are we supposed to believe that some sort of 'dodgy deal' hasn't been put together? They can deny it all they like, the texts say it all.

That's my Esher gaff, only cost me £5m. Not.
In other words, the Tories are helping out councils in leafy Surrey, their heartlands, but if youre in Liverpool, Leeds, Cardiff or most other towns and cities faced with making "difficult decisions", you get nothing but austerity. Your libraries are closing, your Sure Start centres are being axed, once again its YOU that has to carry the can for the wealthy.

This is wrong and heads should roll for this.

This was Jeremy Corbyn's best PMQs for a few weeks. He seems comfortable putting questions to Theresa May on the NHS and social care, and today this was more apparent than usual. Despite loud braying from the Tory benches (which the much lauded Speaker did nothing to intervene), Corbyn rammed home his points well.

Theresa May did not look comfortable today. As usual, she didn't answer anything with any clarity. The texts Corbyn produced completely threw her out. She had to resort to accusing Jeremy Corbyn of using "alternative facts". Not only does this government appease the Trump administration, its starting to sound like him too.

A brilliant ambush from Jeremy Corbyn, and now questions need answering. Councils up and down the land, starved of funding from central government, have had to make cuts to your services on an unprecedented level. Why on earth cant they have a direct line to senior ministers? Why should people in Hull, Swansea or Nottingham not be afforded the same preferential treatment?

There are some tough times ahead for Labour, there's no point pretending otherwise, but today, Corbyn showed, despite being a committed vegetarian, he can pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat and put Theresa May on the back foot and unable to answer the questions. For Theresa May, Surrey seemed to be the hardest word.

Same again next week please, Mr Corbyn.