Ian Blackford, the SNP Westminster Leader, said it all when he quipped: “I was under the impression that this was questions to the PM.”
At PMQs this week, Theresa May failed to answer almost every question that was put to her, which leaves one wondering why this theatrical spectacle is still continued.
Asked about the worry felt by the constituents of Oxford West and Abingdon about leaving the single market and how this would affect the local economy, Theresa May decided to accuse MP Layla Moran of providing misinformation to her constituents about Brexit. May claimed that the Tories are seeking a deal that “gives us access to the single market” – not something that has been announced as part of the Government’s confusing position on Brexit, but presumably that doesn’t matter.
When quizzed on the damning UN report detailing that the UK actively discriminates against disabled people through cuts, Theresa May claimed that “those who are most in need” are receiving help, and that the support they are providing has “actually increased”. Must all be in the UN’s imagination, then – not to mention the imaginations of disability charities, my esteemed colleague James Moore, and those processing Freedom of Information requests. The fact that the DWP was told to “discriminate” against claimants with mental health conditions is obviously part of May’s utopian plan to help out those in need.
On the next question, Theresa May refused to accept that a 1 per cent pay increase for police officers and prison officers, with 2.9 per cent inflation, was in fact a real terms pay cut. She went on to say that, actually, police officers had actually enjoyed a 32 per cent increase over the past seven years.
I’m sure it will come as a shock to many police officers on the beat that they’ve “never had it better”, particularly considering over 20,000 of their jobs have been slashed (as well as there being 7,000 fewer prison officers). She then failed to guarantee that there would be no further police and prison officer cuts. Transparency really isn’t one of May’s fortes.
Corbyn continued by asking what has happened to the average person’s bank account over the past seven years, which, to her due, she did answer. May detailed that the average person is £1,000 better off due to tax allowances. I’m sure many people will be sitting at home wondering if their extra grand has gotten lost in the post.
Getting a proper answer or some form of acknowledgement that there may be an issue for even one single person in the country during a period of protracted austerity and a skydiving pound has become a rarity for Theresa May. She seems to be under the impression that she is not accountable to the people in this country, and that she can continue to hide what the Government is doing behind rhetoric while the public sit at home and nod.
Criticism is justified on both sides of the benches when it comes to the lack of discussion on Brexit. One wonders if they think by not talking about it, we will forget that it’s happening. With talks being stalled for an extra week and two major votes through Parliament this week, you would think it would be worth mentioning.
Alas, only Layla Moran got a brief word in edgeways on the subject.
During the general election, it was widely publicised that Theresa May rarely engaged with a member of the public who wasn’t a paid-up member of the Conservatives – you’d think that perhaps, after all of that criticism, she’d have changed her tune. This is how Corbyn swiped many of her votes, after all. But it appears that the Prime Minister has simply retreated further into her shell, with her fingers firmly wedged in her ears.
If Theresa May does remain in her position until 2022, then we have an awful lot of answer-free PMQs to sit through until the next general election.
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