Pretty much every week when parliament is sitting, Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) takes place. The concept is a simple one and the clue is in the name. And in case that’s not enough, parliament’s website gives a helpful description:
Prime Minister’s Question Time, also referred to as PMQs, gives MPs the chance to question the Prime Minister.
But somehow, the BBC‘s political editor Laura Kuenssberg spectacularly failed to grasp the concept. Following an exchange between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn that ended with May asking Corbyn a question, Kuenssberg tweeted:
Corbyn doesn’t answer it but moves on to cuts to benefits that are still going ahead
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) October 31, 2018
Luckily, social media users were on hand to remind Kuenssberg how PMQs works:
This may be difficult for you to understand…it is for the PM to answer questions. #PMQs
If you know any actual journalists, perhaps they could help explain it to you
— Dave Williams (@realdavedoubleu) October 31, 2018
It’s called prime ministers questions he’s there to ask questions she’s there to answer the questions that are asked.
— joepublica (@joepublica) October 31, 2018
And just in case there was any doubt:
I know it's confusing but he isn't quite yet the Prime Minister.
— Neil Channing (@SenseiChanning) October 31, 2018
Others couldn’t quite believe it was the BBC‘s political editor making the comment:
— Hicham Yezza (@HichamYezza) October 31, 2018
Some people wondered if they’d missed a general election:
Ooh was there a general election that I just missed? Is Corbyn Prime Minister now – I guess he must be if he's supposed to be ANSWERING questions at Prime Ministers QUESTIONS!
— Melanie Absolon (@melaniejabsolon) October 31, 2018
But last time The Canary checked, there wasn’t an overnight snap general election. And as Twitter users highlighted, Kuenssberg’s framing is important given May’s lack of answers:
surely the media has to finally comment about May's inability or unwillingness to answer questions during PMQ's?
After all she is still the PM
The BBC's political editor commented on Corbyn not answering questions, forgetting perhaps Corbyn is not PM
— Curious Chak (@Curious_Chak) October 31, 2018
Even more wishful thinking…
It would be nice to have a political system where the apparent leader of the country was questioned each week and responded with coherent and accountable answers. It would also be nice for this occur without the event turning into what shadow education secretary Angel Rayner described as a “pantomime”.
But this isn’t the case. And between May’s refusal to answer questions, the behaviour of her MPs, and this kind of response from media pundits, it’s obvious why so many people are fed up with mainstream establishment politics.
– Support The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.