Prime minister’s questions: a shouty, jeery, very occasionally useful advert for British politics. Here’s what you need to know from this week’s session in POLITICO’s weekly run-through.
What they sparred about: Housing policy. Labour’s Keir Starmer went for Rishi Sunak on the Tory target to build 300,000 homes a year, which was included in the 2019 manifesto yet … looks a rather tall order.
UK politics in a paragraph: Starmer pointed out that some Tories oppose housebuilding in their constituencies, yet national Conservative policy is to build more homes. Sunak hit back by pointing out that while national Labour policy is to build more homes … some senior Labour figures oppose housebuilding in their own constituencies. It’s gonna be a long, long election year.
Biggest Labour cheer of the day: Starmer: “At least the Tories are not claiming to be the party of home ownership — because we are!”
Second biggest Tory cheer of the day: Sunak said shadow Cabinet ministers who are against more housing in their area “don’t have to worry — because Starmer has never kept a promise he has made!” Get the flip-flops out. The biggest cheer came when Tory MP Shaun Bailey spat out a question urging Starmer to “grow a spine” on trade union pay demands.
Coming to opposition posters near you: Sunak’s brave claim that the public should “hold their nerve” on the mounting mortgages and cost of living crises came up twice — via Labour’s Chris Bryant and the SNP’s Stephen Flynn.
Umm: “I celebrate everyone doing an apprentice,” Sunak enthusiastically claimed at one stage. We really hope he meant “apprenticeship.”
Helpful intervention of the day: Tory MP Jason McCartney broke up all the fighting by asking the prime minister to condemn *checks notes* the Labour-run Kirklees Council over housebuilding contracts. Top marks to the Tory benches for reacting to the very mention of Kirklees Council with a pantomime-style gasp.
Totally non-scientific scores on the doors: Low-energy fare in a half-empty Commons chamber. When’s recess again?
Sunak 5/10 … Starmer 5/10 … Material for those demanding an election now 100/10.