PMQs Twitter round-up: Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and child refugees

In a savage PMQs session ahead of polling day tomorrow for the mayoral and council elections, the Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn traded blows over Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

Cameron opened the session by congratulating Leicester City FC on its improbable achievement before the Labour leader began his line of questioning on funding cuts for local councils.

Corbyn also sought to neutralise the issue of claims of anti-Semitism within Labour by noting that today was Holocaust Memorial Day and that racism had no place in his party.

But Cameron barely paid lip service to Corbyn's questions and sought to highlight a quote from Corbyn that the militant group Hamas were his "friends" and demanded that he withdraw it.


Corbyn denied he was anti-Semitic and declined to withdraw his previous comments, turning to cuts in the adult social care budget.



But, in defiance of any convention at PMQs, in which the Prime Minister generally answers questions rather than demand answers to them, Cameron again brushed Corbyn's questions aside and demanded he withdraw comments about Hamas.

 

But a frustrated Corbyn, forced to reiterate his opposition to racism, then referenced Conservative mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith's campaign and accused him of smearing his Labour opponent.  




However, some commentators felt the damage had already been done to Corbyn, despite his answer to Cameron's claims.


In a final attempt to pin down the Prime Minister, Corbyn asked him why poverty was getting worse under his Government but Cameron retorted that the Labour leader "may be a friend to Hamas but he is an enemy of aspiration".

Commentators agreed that Cameron had the best of today's exchange with Corbyn.



There was a moment of humour when the Speaker demanded that Tory MP and whip Guy Opperman stop shouting people down and told him to "be quiet or leave" the chamber.

In a rare moment, later in the session, SNP leader Angus Robertson elicited what amounted to a U-turn announcement from the PM on Syrian child refugees. It became clear that the Government will after all adopt the House of Lords amendment on Syrian children, nicknamed the Dubs amendment, which will see up to 3,000 unaccompanied Syrian children in Europe brought to the UK.



But Robertson's questions on child refugees only served to highlight Corbyn's impotence at PMQs, one commentator said.


Towards the end of the session, Green MP Caroline Lucas sought to highlight opposition by parents to SATs tests, which some regard as overly taxing for young children, and she asked Cameron to answer some of the questions in the test, including to identify a modal verb.

But Cameron declined to be tested and said the point of the tests was to make sure that children were educated better than those in the chamber.

According to Brandwatch, there were nearly 13,000 tweets mentioning PMQs and the most mentioned topics were Hamas, the mayoral election and child refugees.

Cameron scored one of his lowest sentiment ratings with 22 per cent positive mentions, while Corbyn enjoyed 64 per cent positive mentions and Robertson scored highest on 93 per cent positive. 


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