PMQs row over prison escapes
Some Conservative MPs have been mulling over whether they need yet another change of leader, the polls appear to be bleak for the Tories with Labour’s 21 point lead, yet Rishi Sunak keeps smiling.
Among the inner circle of the Prime Minister there seems to be a completely unjustified sense of optimism that a miracle election victory can be achieved next year.
Earlier this week, Express.co.uk randomly ran into a senior Downing Street aide in Mayfair who said: “Of course we will win.”
Similarly, Transport Secretary Mark Harper went on the record to say it was not just possible but likely they can turn it around.
It may seem like blind optimism defeating reality yet every time Mr Sunak squares up against Sir Keir Starmer in PMQs it is obvious to see why there are still believers in his abilities.
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READ MORE: Starmer humiliated as PM points out escapes under Labour were 10 times higher
It was not that Sir Keir Starmer had a lack of targets.
In fact, he had a go at them all – escaped dangerous prisoners, China and failing to stop the small boats.
Yet each time a smiling Sunak somehow swatted away the Labour leader with ease.
You could almost feel the downhearted Tory MPs behind him actually mustering some enthusiasm and cheers.
And it is easy to forget that Starmer is a professional lawyer who is supposed to be an expert at interogating people – his lumbering approach makes it hard to believe.
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The issue of attacking the Prime Minister over the prisoner escape provided a beautiful example of the problems Starmer faced.
It seemed a little harsh for blaming Sunak for not making sure personally a man on a terrorist list was kept under lock and key although the feeling that the worldis going to pot and this was the latest exampe after crumbling schools was a fair one.
It is just that as ever Mr Sunak had the last word and made it devastating.
“I would like to remind him [Starmer] that prisoner escapes were ten times higher under the last Labour government.”
The fact is that Sunak’s strengths include being well briefed and remembering detail.
When he told Starmer to “catch up” on policy toward China, it was a reminder that the Labour leader does not seem to be particularly strong in this area.
Sunak left PMQs today knowing he has a few weeks break during the conference season before returning for the first King’s Speech.
His party’s prospects still look pretty grim but he at least managed to give his MPs some cause to believe that he can still lead them to victory.
As Harper and the Downing Street aide both noted, once the economy improves “people will be happier” and then “voters will see how little Labour has to offer.”
PMQs today summed that up.
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