PMQs Twitter round-up: customs union, job centres and a "rudderless" Labour party

It was a lacklustre session of PMQs, with Conservative Leader of the the House David Liddington standing in for the Prime Minister while Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry led for Labour in place of Jeremy Corbyn.

Thornberry began with a swipe by invoking a speech made by Winton Churchill to Parliament in 1943, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbour, in which he stressed the primacy of the House, a clear reference to the ongoing case being heard by the Supreme Court this week on the question of Brexit.

In contrast to Corbyn's sometimes scattergun approach, Thornberry chose to focus her questions, with a degree of lazer-like accuracy, on the issue of whether the Government intended to remain a part of the EU's customs union, following Brexit.

Again and again Thornberry recast the question, but to no avail because Liddington was not about to reveal the Government's negotiating position on behalf of his boss.

Thornberry returned once again to the issue of how the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would work, following Brexit, but Liddington was having none of it.


However, Liddington did, in the end, promise that MPs would hear a statement on the Government's negotiating position and objectives before Article 50 is invoked next year.



An exasperated Liddington then lashed out with an attack on Labour, accusing the party of being "rudderless" and "drifting on Europe".

Angus Robertson, leader of the SNP in the Commons, called on Liddington to explain why the Government was planning on cutting the number of job centres in deprived areas of Glasgow.

But when Liddington told Robertson he would ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to contact him with an answer, Robertson used his second question to tell him "that's not good enough" and that he wanted an answer during the session.

Liddington replied, opaquely, that a key element of the decision would have been the accessibility of the service to those who use it.

Later in the session, Parliament broke with convention to applaud Kitty Hart Moxon, a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau, who was celebrating her 90th birthday with a visit to the public gallery.

According to Brandwatch, there were more than 5,500 tweets around this week's PMQs, with social media users mentioning customs union, Brexit and job centres in Glasgow more than any other topics. Aorund 38 per cent of the tweets were positive in sentiment and the remainder negative. 



 

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