Jeremy Corbyn has nailed the big problem with Boris Johnson’s first parliamentary performance as prime minister on 25 July.
The problem is that Johnson said he “struggled” to understand Corbyn’s hard-hitting questions. And as the Labour leader stressed, the new PM also failed to answer them.
Corbyn sought answers on regional injustices, capital punishment, the Huawei leak, the ‘backstop‘, other Brexit questions, tackling the climate emergency, and deescalating tensions with Iran. And he repeated them for Johnson on Facebook for good measure:
Today was the first time I faced Boris Johnson in Parliament. He said he "struggled" to discover a question in what I'd…
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A hard-right government “by the bankers and for the bankers”
Corbyn also insisted in his exchange with Johnson that the British government now has a [0:13]:
hard-right cabinet staking everything on tax cuts for the few and a reckless race-to-the-bottom Brexit
After a decade of divisive policies for the few, we need a government that will focus on the interests of the many. pic.twitter.com/uaKbmEUCJM
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) July 25, 2019
Shadow cabinet members John McDonnell, Laura Pidcock and Angela Rayner agreed. They had little doubt that Johnson will lead a Thatcherite government “by the bankers and for the bankers”:
Javid has consistently called for more tax cuts for the banks and corporations. So from the outset it's clear that this is a government by the bankers and for the bankers.
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) July 24, 2019
Have no doubt, @BorisJohnson will take us down a path well-trodden by Margaret Thatcher. Whatever his position on Brexit, whatever populist stunts he pulls, Johnson is a hard-line free market fundamentalist who believes in a ‘sink or swim’ individualism: https://t.co/2mn5rD8AuV
— Laura Pidcock MP (@LauraPidcockMP) July 25, 2019
I don't know about A Nightmare on Elm Street, this new Johnson Tory cabinet is A Nightmare on Downing Street. A collection of ex failed right wing ministers&MPs brought back from yesteryear dressed up as a new dynamic force to unite the country 🤔We need a general election NOW!
— Angela Rayner 🌈 (@AngelaRayner) July 24, 2019
With all of this in mind, the Labour leader asked Johnson – the “Britain Trump“, according to the current US president – to guarantee that the NHS would be completely off the table in any post-Brexit trade deal with the US:
WATCH: Jeremy Corbyn asks U.K. PM Boris Johnson if he can rule out selling the NHS to Trump pic.twitter.com/tKpdtQmHdM
— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) July 25, 2019
This was the only question Johnson seemed to answer. He said “under no circumstances would we agree to any… free-trade deal that put the NHS on the table”. He is certainly not someone we can trust to be truthful, of course. But that is a promise we should all hold him to.
On the other important questions that Corbyn raised, however, Johnson sidestepped. He simply insisted:
I struggle to see the country he described in his description of the United Kingdom today.
That’s perhaps because, according to the parliamentary register of interests, the millionaire prime minister collected £780,000 from September 2018 to June 2019, gets £274,999.92 a year for writing columns for the Daily Telegraph, got “£49,642.78 in book royalties and advances between September 2017 and June 2019”, and recently put his London house up for sale with a price tag of £3.75m.
“Not one for coping with detail”
If Johnson’s first performance as PM shows anything, shadow chancellor John McDonnell summed it up perfectly:
The questioning exposed what everyone suspected. He’s not one for coping with detail.
In short, there’ll probably be much more question avoidance to come. But with Corbyn holding Johnson to account every week, and protesters already hitting the streets in large numbers, the new PM’s hard-right cabinet will have a fight on its hands if it wants to push any more suffering onto the British people.
Featured image via screenshots
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