Over a million people tuned in to watch Jeremy Corbyn's first PMQs

The audience was significantly higher than normal

Jon Stone
Thursday 17 September 2015 17:40 BST
Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons
Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons

Over a million people watched Jeremy Corbyn’s first Prime Minister’s Questions with David Cameron, the BBC has said.

The Corporation screened the programme on three channels as usual – the BBC News channel, BBC Two via the Daily Politics, and BBC Parliament.

Over half a million people watched the debate on the Daily Politics, the programme’s highest audience in years and twice its usual viewers.

The remainder who tuned in to the usual slot at 12 noon on Wednesday watched the event on the other two channels.

The BBC confirmed that the viewing figures were significantly higher than usual across all of its outlets. The session is also screened on US congressional broadcaster C-Span.

Mr Corbyn had announced beforehand that he wanted to completely change the way Prime Minister’s Questions worked.

He invited members of the public to send him suggestions of issues they felt were important to them.

“The Labour Party is the joint endeavour of each and every one of us. I want to use your talents to make us stronger, and I want to represent you,” the new Labour leader said ahead of the meeting.

“So, help me be your representative. When I stand at the despatch box for Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, I want to be your voice.”

A suggestion box was set up on the Labour website and an email was sent to Labour supporters requesting their opinion.

Mr Corbyn asked about cuts to tax credits, mental health service and changes to the way social housing is funded and administrated.

The new approach appeared to calm the session, with noticeably less shouting and braying than usual in the chamber.

It appeared to be more difficult under the new format for the leader of the opposition to pin the PM into a corner over his answers, however.

A page has also been set up on the Labour website so that anyone to contribute ideas or make suggestions of important issues.

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