One of the most effective forms of attack is to agree with one’s opponent. Keir Starmer deployed the tactic of bipartisan reasonableness to devastating effect today, leaving Boris Johnson so badly winded at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) that it looked as if the Labour leader were running the country.
Starmer started by reminding the prime minister of the mood of the House when it paid its respects to Sir David Amess on Monday and asked for a commitment to start the passage of the Online Safety Bill “by the end of this calendar year”. Starmer said: “If he does, we’ll support it.”
Johnson was forced to be on his best behaviour: “I thank the right honourable gentleman for the spirit in which he has approached this issue and I echo what he says about the need for cooperation across the house.” He duly promised to bring the bill forward before Christmas, as he had been told.