Theresa May's first PMQs: Orgreave, Trident and inevitable comparisons with Thatcher

In her inaugural PMQs appearance, Prime Minister Theresa May gave what some commentators described as an "assured" and "competent" performance while Jeremy Corbyn failed to land any serious blows.

The Labour leader began by congratulating May on her new role as well as becoming the second ever female Prime Minister.

Corbyn then began to contrast her inaugural speech outside Number 10 last Wednesday with the Government's record, and demanded a public inquiry into the events around the so-called 'battle of Orgreave' between miners and the police in 1984.

However, May brushed off the question and said her new Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, would answer later today.

May also made hay with Labour divisions by congratulating the 140 Labour MPs who backed renewal of Trident on Monday, in defiance of their leader's position on the issue.

May also twisted the knife by saying to Corbyn that she looked forward to exchanges with him across the dispatch box for many years to come, referencing his battle to retain his leadership of the party.
Corbyn continued with a question about house prices but then used the question to attack May's choice of Boris Johnson as her new Foreign Secretary and made reference to his historical reference to black people as 'piccaninnies'.

May answered the substance of the question regarding housing but omitted to reply to Corbyn's challenge regarding Johnson.
Corbyn then turned to the subject of austerity and criticised the effect it had had on some of the poorest in society and referenced "job insecurity" to jeers from MPs.
May used the opportunity to highlight the practices of unscrupulous bosses in a thinly veiled attack on Corbyn's leadership of the Labour Party, drawing comparisons with Margaret Thatcher from some commentators.





After May reiterated her earlier message that "Brexit means Brexit", SNP leader Angus Robertson asked May to give assurances that, given Scotland's vote in the EU referendum, "Remain would mean Remain?".

But May was in no mood to give concessions and instead talked up the importance of the union in the UK.


There were several backbench questions that addressed issues affecting women in British society, including one from Labour's Nusrat Ghani who asked May to classify so-called 'honour killings' as extremism and violence and to stop referring it in those terms.

There was also a question around the terrorist attacks in Nice last week and how the continuing problem of terrorism might be addressed now that Britain has left the EU.

May told the House that although Britain was leaving the EU, it would not leave Europe and would continue to co-operate on issues such as terrorism.

Conservative backbencher Stuart Andrew drew laughter with his question, designed to highlight his party's record on social mobility.

Commentators gave May's first performance at the dispatch box a broadly positive review...
...in contrast to Corbyn's performance.



According to Brandwatch, the final PMQs before the summer recess drew 19,000 tweets, with peaks for May's barbs about unscrupulous bosses and Trident.

Tweets about May were 48 per cent positive and 52 per cent negative while for Corbyn they were 39 per cent positive and 61 per cent negative.

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