Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on 18 March was Jeremy Corbyn’s last one as Labour leader. And his performance shows why now, more than ever, he’s the leader this country really needs.
In fact, even Corbyn’s normal detractors suddenly seem to realise his value:
— James Foster (@JamesEFoster) March 18, 2020
‘Generations to come will judge us’
Due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the usually packed PMQs benches were sparsely populated. Corbyn stated that:
Generations to come will look back on this moment and they will judge us – judge us on the actions that we take now. Our response must be bold, and it must be decisive. The market cannot deliver what is needed. Only collective public action led by government can protect our people and our society.
And he made the important point that:
collective action must not allow… the burden to fall most on those who lack the resources to cope, as happened after the finanical crash.
Crucially, he highlighted the fact that people understand restrictions on our lives are needed but that this can only happen if there’s:
balancing action to protect the most insecure and vulnerable in the interests of public health as well as of social justice.
Corbyn then asked the PM:
Will he step up now, and not tomorrow, and give support to those vulnerable people who live on the margins of our society – are vulnerable themselves and make us all vulnerable – and give them the support and the assurance that they desperately are searching for today?
— Rachael Swindon #UTFC (@Rachael_Swindon) March 18, 2020
Supporting those who need help
Corbyn’s other questions focused on the areas that have been woefully lacking from government announcements to date. This included the issue of renters:
Jeremy Corbyn has asked the Chancellor a question that millions of us would like the answer to:
Why is there nothing in his pledges for the millions of people who rent?
Sod this leadership election Jeremy Corbyn needs to stay. #PMQs
— Ben (@BenJolly9) March 18, 2020
And he raised the important issue about the levels of statutory sick pay in the UK:
You cannot feed a family on £94 a week.
'You cannot feed a family on 94 quid a week'@JeremyCorbyn asks @BorisJohnson to extend an 'very much enhanced statutory sick pay to all workers #PMQs #coronavirus https://t.co/h9nZeijeDU pic.twitter.com/cSxxcEVYD1
— ITV News (@itvnews) March 18, 2020
Meanwhile, Angela Rayner summed up the PM’s response:
The PM rambling answers again on #coronavirus he’s reverting to type “Whatever it takes" “Anything we can"? Say exactly in plain terms what you are going to do, when you are going to do it and who is going to do it, the usual waffle and bluster will simply not do #PMQs
— Angela Rayner 🌈 (@AngelaRayner) March 18, 2020
The prime minister we need
— Robert Peston (@Peston) March 18, 2020
We had the chance to have the prime minister we really need. Unfortunately, everyone from the mainstream media to extreme centrists smeared him, his team, and his ideas. Inequality was already rife in our society long before the coronavirus took hold. Our NHS was in crisis long before the pandemic. But the establishment chose to prioritise the interests of the 1%.
Now we’re left with a bumbling idiot in charge, prioritising business over people and services that were already stretched to breaking point. There’s no point lamenting what might have been. We just have to ensure that Johnson knows that we will not tolerate his lack of action for ordinary people.
Featured image via screengrab
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