Sir Keir Starmer failed to land any major blows on Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions despite his shiny new shadow cabinet.
The Labour leader – fresh off the back of his reshuffle – questioned the Prime Minister over revelations printed by the Daily Mirror newspaper that he and his Downing Street aides had a boozy party last Christmas when coronavirus restrictions were in place.
However, the PM claimed that “all guidance was followed completely” at the time and that under a Labour government, Britain would still be in lockdown.
Starmer also failed to bring up the ongoing migration crisis – a wedge issue for the party – or the logistics of the booster programme, leaving Johnson to rile up the opposition over their “factional infighting”. When Boris went for Starmer over internal division between him and Deputy Leader Angela Rayner, Starmer looked the other way to mingle with Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves and avoided eye contact with her right hand lady.
Despite his continued shortcomings, Starmer managed to find an effective line of attack that irked Johnson: “Any promises from this PM aren’t worth the manifesto paper they are written on.”
Starmer took the Cabinet to task over a leaked document advising National Health Service senior management how to speak about the building of 40 new hospitals. The Labour leader claims the “playbook” instructs staff to frame “alterations on existing hospitals as new hospitals”.
Today’s PMQs had numerous missed opportunities for Starmer. At least he knows in future that the most effective thing he can do every Wednesday is focus on the theme that Number 10’s promises are not what they were made out to be.