No car crash: Jeremy Corbyn’s first PMQs – here’s what happened

Analysis: Calm Corbyn changes tone of PMQs, but can he do it again?

After the chaos of the past four days, Jeremy Corbyn’s first Prime Minister’s Questions as leader of the opposition looked set to demonstrate a fractured Labour party in disarray.

But that is not what happened.

To a packed chamber, Corbyn looked utterly unruffled and when he took the floor, and unexpectedly received a hearty cheer from Labour MPs.

During his first question, Corbyn said he would like Prime Minister’s Questions to change in tone, and said he would “do things differently”.

This he did by asking the public to email him questions to ask in parliament. More than 40,000 people emailed him, he said, and he went on to read questions on housing, mental health and cuts to working tax credits.

David Cameron responded sincerely, but missed no opportunity to criticise Corbyn’s economic policy, his appointment of John McDonnell as shadow chancellor, and his defence policy.

Nonetheless, the effect was undoubtedly a calmer Prime Minister’s Questions, and it meant Cameron had to respond not directly to Corbyn himself, but to those people Corbyn had asked questions from.

This had the effect of removing the opportunity for Cameron to ridicule him.

But it also meant that Cameron had free reign to set out to the public – which no doubt tuned in in droves – exactly what the Conservatives stand for.

Corbyn’s integrity was preserved – he spoke fluidly and calmly.

If the audience was expecting a car crash, they did not get it.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Trouble with politicians like Corbyn, and the late Tony Benn is that they appear to be awfully nice people but they live in an unreal world where if they ever got into power they would be an utter and total disaster.

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  • Brian M how do you know that Jeremy Corbyn would be a disaster? Evidence??? Just because his views and ideology do not fit in with your world view does not necessarily mean he will be a disaster and that his policies are unsound. There are many unsound Tory policies sold to the public on the back of fear and intimidation, which the public are bound to buy because they are lied to and told the country will fall apart. They are a bunch of lies. The public is often sold lies by both ideological camps. At least Jeremy Crobyn is honest and truly represents the interest of hard working ordinary people of the UK and not just the elite or the angst ridden middle classes who live in constant fear of their tenuous social status crumbling as a result of the betterment of the working and under classes. The fact is that a more equal society is needed and the winner grabs all mentality of our large corporations and businesses continually undermines the wellbeing and social fabric of this society so that hard working people are barely able to make ends meet.

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