Boris Johnson swears in parliament amid PMQs pummeling after historic Brexit defeat

Embattled prime minister describes Labour economic policy as ‘s**t or bust’

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 04 September 2019 13:26
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Boris Johnson says Labour economic policy is 's**t or bust'

Boris Johnson has sworn in Parliament during a bruising PMQs session after a day in which he suffered a historic defeat over his Brexit plan.

The new prime minister described Labour’s economic plans as “s**t or bust” during a back-and-forth with Jeremy Corbyn.

He was quoting Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, who used the phrase in 2018 to describe her party’s strategy of major increases in state spending.

It came during an ill-tempered PMQs in which Mr Corbyn grilled Mr Johnson on the lack of evidence to show he was making progress in Brexit negotiations.

Mr Johnson said at the despatch box: “He wants a tax on homes, and he’s calling incessantly for a general strike.

“The shadow education secretary says that their economic policy is, and I quote, Mr Speaker, by your leave, s**t or bust.”

The prime minister also called Mr Corbyn “Caracas” for what he said was the Labour leader’s support for the Russian, Iranian and Venezuelan governments.

Later, away from the microphone, he was seen to goad the opposition leader by shouting: “Call an election, you great big girl’s blouse.”

And he was rebuked by the Speaker, John Bercow, for using an MP’s name in contravention of parliamentary convention.

Alison McGovern, the Labour MP, tweeted a review of the prime minister’s performance. She said: “This isn’t #pmqs. It is a dodgy stand up comedian dying on his arse.”

The word “s**t” has been used just 51 times across the Commons and Lords since 1 January 1800, according to Hansard records, and 13 times in the last 10 years.

Wednesday’s session was characterised by frequent interruptions and shouting from MPs on both sides of the house, and the PM was accused of “endless posturing around no deal” as he was repeatedly put on the defensive.

He was assailed by members including those he had recently expelled from his party on a number of issues, from “letter box” comments he made about Muslim women in his Daily Telegraph column, to the influence of his top adviser Dominic Cummings.

Mr Johnson faced the questions just hours after suffering a humiliating defeat when nearly two dozen of his own MPs rebelled to help the Commons wrest control of the parliamentary order paper.

They are attempting to pass a bill that would block the prime minister from taking the UK out of the EU without a deal.

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