PMQs carnage as Boris Johnson repeatedly loses it

Boris Johnson repeatedly losing it at PMQs

Boris Johnson looked like a man under pressure at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs). During the session on Wednesday 28 April, he lost it under pressure from an actually forensic Keir Starmer and a bold Ian Blackford.

Tory corruption

Tory corruption is left, right, and centre at present. As The Canary previously reported, the Electoral Commission is investigating Johnson’s Downing Street refurb. Questions also remain over the PM’s ‘let the bodies pile high’ comments. And accusations over dodgy government contracts linger.

So, Tory corruption took centre stage at PMQs – beginning with Starmer.

Much of the centrist corporate media and commentariat often call the Labour leader “forensic“. Meanwhile, people on the left ridicule this. But 28 April might have been the first time Starmer actually lived up to this description. It’s only taken a year.

Starmer: actually forensic for once

In short, the Labour leader invoked his lawyer background. He picked apart all the corruption allegations and asked very specific questions. Newsnight‘s Lewis Goodall summed up proceedings quite well. He tweeted that:

Goodall then noted that Johnson came:

out fighting – says that if Starmer wants to make those remarks he should do so having substantiated them and reveal who is saying so.

And as Goodall tweeted:

Starmer then moved onto the Downing Street refurb. He repeatedly asked Johnson who ‘initially’ paid for it. The PM repeatedly said he “personally” did. But crucially, as Goodall tweeted:

Losing it, PMQs – style

Then, Johnson went on a somewhat extraordinary near two-minute rant:

As Goodall noted:

And then, enter the SNP’s Westminster leader Blackford to give the PM even more of a headache.

Liar, liar

Regarding the ‘bodies pile high’ comment, he said [ED: all the below from 21:20 onwards]:

Parliamentary rules stop me from saying that the Prime Minister has repeatedly lied to the public over the last week. But can I ask the question: are you a liar, Prime Minister?

Johnson said:

Mr Speaker, I leave it to you to judge whether the right honourable gentleman’s remarks were in order

Hoyle then responded:

they’re in order, but were not savoury, and not what we would expect.

The PM said:

I’m grateful to you, Mr Speaker.

Parliamentary nonsense

Blackford’s comment sums up the ridiculous state of affairs in parliament. Because of so-called ‘parliamentary privilege‘, MPs can accuse people of things without the threat of being prosecuted under defamation laws. They can also break court injunctions. As the website allaboutlaw noted, MPs and Lords have sometimes named people at the centre of potential criminal investigations when the media couldn’t.

So, for example a Lord can accuse disgraced businessman Philip Green of “serious and repeated” sexual harassment. But because of other, antiquated parliamentary rules Blackford can’t call the PM a liar.

For once, Starmer and Blackford both had the PM rattled. But how much of it was actual anger from Johnson, and how much was a stage-managed performance? As Green Party MP Caroline Lucas tweeted:

Whether or not Johnson lost it for real, the truth about the allegations against him and any punishment are still a long way off being known.

Featured image via the BBC – YouTube 

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