Analysis by Eric Kostadinov
Note: views expressed are those of the individual and not representative of TalkPolitics
The first PMQs of the new parliamentary season was a typical affair. Jeremy Corbyn’s line of questioning focused on two major areas: the Mcdonalds strike and the public sector pay cap. Corbyn appeared strong in the initial stages and performed well in areas that he is very comfortable discussing. Corbyn’s first question ended with asking May if she supports the Mcdonalds strike, which she did not answer. May repeatedly trashed Labour’s own record in government as she struggled to deal with questions that fell right in Corbyn’s comfort zone. Corbyn continued to perform well when discussing executive pay and the public sector pay cap, and it could be said that public opinion lies with Corbyn on all the issues discussed. May appeared weakened throughout, and at one stage tried to attack Corbyn on trident when he asked a question about zero hour contracts. Corbyn’s final question asked for a guarantee that income tax and VAT would not be raised, but again, May did not answer, instead choosing to list off Conservative achievements in office.
Corbyn did, however, fail to bring up the main political issue of the day – Brexit. The opposition leader was very comfortable speaking about issues that he has campaigned on for many years, however, the lack of questioning on Brexit could be considered alarming, and shows a weakness in the Labour Party, with the party split on whether Britain should or should not remain in the single market. Corbyn knows he is not as strong when discussing Europe, however at some stage it will surely have to be his main focus.
In conclusion, PMQs reminded us again of Corbyn’s growing strength within the Labour Party. When discussing areas surrounding workers pay he is able to put forward a very passionate case. Despite this, Corbyn did not deliver a knock-out blow, and May managed to get through the exchanges looking damaged, but not broken. Corbyn can consider it a job well done, but he won’t be able to ignore the issue of Brexit for much longer…
N.B. Post-publishing, this piece was subsequently moved to the ‘Be A Voice’ section.