Jeremy Corbyn invoked David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on 7 September, in an effort to hold the new Prime Minister’s feet to the fire. But he failed to mention the one pledge Cameron made that completely destroys Theresa May’s legitimacy.
At least, that is, in the previous Prime Minister’s eyes.
Sod housing, let’s talk about Twitter
During PMQs, Corbyn focused on housing. He highlighted Cameron’s promise that there would be a “one-for-one replacement for every council house that is sold under right-to-buy”. He asserted that, in reality, the Conservative government is only replacing one council house for every five that are sold.
May denied Corbyn’s figures were true, and then quickly moved on to the compelling subject of Corbyn’s Twitter feed. She noted that the Labour leader had asked Twitter followers to submit questions he should pose to the Prime Minister during the session, and that she had perused the responses. One question found by May was allegedly about a recent poll, and recited by her at PMQs:
Lewis writes, does she know that in a recent poll on who would make a better Prime Minister ‘don’t know’ scored higher than Jeremy Corbyn?
Corbyn did not respond to May’s obvious baiting. Instead, he returned to housing. But had he wished to invoke the former Prime Minister once more, there was a golden nugget ready for the taking.
She’s no place in Downing Street
As the blog Pride’s Purge recently noted, Cameron has demanded a general election be called to legitimise the newly installed Prime Minister. Or, at least, he did in 2010 after the Labour Party had “stitched up some deal” to replace Tony Blair with Gordon Brown without calling a general election. That year, May’s predecessor spoke on the subject while campaigning in Essex. He said:
You should hold office because the people vote for you, not because your party has stitched up some deal.
He then proposed legislating to ensure a general election had to occur in the event of the Prime Minister’s role changing hands:
I say we change things like this: in future, if someone becomes Prime Minister in the middle of a Parliament, within six months they have to hold an election.
So there you have it. Cameron himself has stated that the very nature of May’s premiership is illegitimate. And by his logic, May should be subjected to a general election by the end of the year.
U-turned, we noticed
Of course, once his own party found itself in that predicament, he became strangely silent on the matter, but this record of him pledging action on the matter lives loudly on.
It is unsurprising, though, that Corbyn didn’t bring up this uncomfortable truth with May over the dispatch box. He seems determined to focus on posing questions about the pressing issues for UK citizens rather than indulging in political mudslinging.
But while Corbyn may never question May about Cameron’s views on her legitimacy, it wouldn’t hurt to tweet him about it anyway. That would ensure that, the next time May scrolls through Corbyn’s Twitter feed, she’ll be confronted by it regardless.
Although it’s highly unlikely she’ll bring it up at PMQs.
– Read other Canary articles on the housing crisis, if you generally think it’s more important than Corbyn’s Twitter feed.
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