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Theresa May was forced to steady herself at the dispatch box yesterday. Something from behind had disrupted her fragile equilibrium, much the same way as a mosquito bite to the neck disturbs the harmony of a peaceful sundowner.
It occurred right at the start of PMQs when a critical question was raised about her request for another Brexit extension. The query came not from the opposing side of the chamber but from the PM’s own benches.
Henry - Smith - Con - Crawley - Ukip
Henry Smith (Con, Crawley), a Eurosceptic once said to have had Ukip leanings, pointed out that a year-long extension would cost Britain an extra £1billion in EU subscriptions. Dosh, he added helpfully, which might be better spent on schools, policing and tax cuts.
It was not so much a response as it was an acid-tinged message to her whole party: I wouldn’t even be travelling to Brussels today if it wasn’t for you lot. Ironically, there was no such trouble from Labour’s benches. The opposition has called pax on Brexit while cross-party talks continue. Down tools for now. Ceasefire.
Mr - Smith - Intervention - Rest - Session
Mr Smith’s intervention aside, the rest of the session was a bit of a washout. A soggy detente. Like watching one of those Tom & Jerry episodes when the warring pair put away their mallets to take a breather.
The Government benches were sparsely attended. Three-quarters full at best. With this week supposed to be recess, it’s likely some were monitoring events from some Alpine schloss. Or perhaps they’ve simply given up.
Case - Jeremy - Corbyn - Spring - Sandals
In which case it should alarm them that Jeremy Corbyn has a spring in his sandals. Perhaps it’s because Labour’s humdrum legal eagle Sir Keir Starmer is now dealing with all that complicated Brexit stuff Jezza doesn’t understand.
Labour’s great leader entered the chamber with the bumptiousness of a Saturday night gameshow host. He flashed colleagues a chewy grin, allowing...
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