PMQs Twitter round-up: Wages, anti-corruption summit and women's refuges

In a lengthy session of Prime Minister's Questions, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn quizzed David Cameron on an obscure EU directive concerning workers' rights but it took backbench MPs to raise Sadiq Khan's victory in last week's London mayoral elections, while Labour's Jess Phillips made an electrifying plea halfway in.

Corbyn began by asking the Prime Minister if the Government would support an EU directive aimed at preventing workers from one EU country being asked to work in another member state by their employer, to which Cameron said he was working with the Dutch government on the issue.

The two leaders then clashed over the Government's introduction of the 'living wage', with Cameron attempting to make Corbyn publicly support it.

Questioning then moved to the topic of tax avoidance, with the Panama Papers back in the news this week, and Corbyn returned to a question he asked a month ago asking what the Government was doing to clamp down on tax avoidance in Crown dependencies.


Corbyn followed up by asking if Tory MEPs would continue to vote against EU measures to clamp down on tax avoidance and he asked a further question about child refugees on behalf of a charity worker but, once again, failed to make a serious impact with his questions.

SNP leader Angus Robertson cheekily asked Cameron to congratulate the SNP's victory in Scotland before coming to the serious matter of the anti-corruption conference in London, which has already seen Cameron accused of a gaffe by calling Nigeria "fantastically corrupt". Robertson asked what measures the Government was taking to prevent officials using London as a conduit for funds gained via corruption.

Robertson asked about Conservative candidates in last week's council elections being investigated for electoral fraud and then twisted the knife by referencing a re-elected Tory police and crime commissioner who was also under investigation.

Cameron brought the anti-corruption summit back into play and deflected embarrassment, retorting that it was the hallmark of an uncorrupt society that it had an independent police force. 

Backbench MPs suddenly stopped baying and shouting and went silent as Labour's Jess Phillips asked an electrifying question to the Prime Minister, begging him to exempt women's refuge accommodation from changes to housing benefit in the forthcoming Housing and Planning Bill, telling the House that 46 women had already died this year at the hands of abusive partners.

"I don't want a stock answer... Will he exempt refuges? Will he choose to save lives? Please," she asked.

Cameron looked uncomfortable as he told her that he would look again at the impact of the Bill on refuges but stopped short of a commitment.

The Speaker, John Bercow, provided two moments of comedy; the first when he admonished MPs for pushing PMQs into overtime by making too much noise.

The second came as Lib Dem leader Tim Farron stood to ask the final question of the session, to near-universal groans from MPs.

"However irritating the honourable gentleman may be to elected backbenchers...," Bercow began, to howls of laughter.


When Farron did finally get to ask his question, it was to congratulate Khan for his victory in London and to ask Cameron to condemn the "racist" campaign waged by the Conservatives.

But Cameron got the last laugh with his answer and even the Speaker could not hide the smirk from his face.

According to Brandwatch there were nearly 9,000 tweets during PMQs with key topics including the living wage and the anti-corruption summit. Cameron enjoyed a 33 per cent positive sentiment rating in tweets, compared with Corbyn on 16 per cent and Robertson on 17 per cent.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in