Sir Keir Starmer accused Boris Johnson of playing “Jedi mind-tricks” over the state of the economy, during the latest session of PMQs.
The Labour leader arrived in the chamber determined to disprove recent suggestions, from his own side, that he is extremely boring.
Putting on a voice similar to Obi Wan-Kenobi in the Star Wars franchise, the Labour leader compared the Prime Minister to the space slug Jabba the Hutt and said the “force is not with him anymore”.
He then read out a list of anonymous comments Tory backbenchers gave to journalists about their boss and urged them to reveal their identities in the Chamber.
Members of the shadow Cabinet have complained recently that Starmer is “boring voters to death”. Is posing as a Star Wars geek really the best way to counter such concerns?
Johnson – like an old Jedi master – evaded Starmer’s attacks. He praised his own administration, and himself, for introducing measures to support families with living costs, such as Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s £1,200 support package for vulnerable households.
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He also made Starmer squirm when he accused the opposition of bowing to “the RMT Union barons” – a reference to next week’s railway strikes over pay and working conditions.
Starmer attacked on the ailing economy, saying the Prime Minister always likes to blame global forces such as the coronavirus pandemic and war in Ukraine, accusing him of bringing the country to a halt “so he can feed on division”.
Starmer’s comments come a week after Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forecast Britain will be the worst-performing economy in the developed world next year bar Russia.
One notable omission from Starmer’s questioning was any reference to yesterday’s last-minute rulings by the European Court of Human Rights relating to the government’s Rwanda asylum scheme. It was Johnson who took the initiative, lambasting Labour for being on the “side of people traffickers”.
The Scottish National Party’s Ian Blackford – unsurprisingly – brought up the issue of Scottish independence, again, following Nicola Sturgeon’s reboot of her unending campaign to destroy the Union. Blackford said Scotland was “trapped in the failing Westminster system” led by a “law-breaking Prime Minister”.
As for Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey, he called on ministers to increase fuel duty relief in “countryside” areas of Cumbria, Devon and Shropshire – areas where MPs know the party is hoping to make gains at the expense of the Tories.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle was typically exasperated with the behaviour of MPs. PMQs was back to being rowdy, almost as rowdy as the scene in the bar in Star Wars.