Boris Johnson's supporters should not dismiss Betty Boothroyd's PMQs broadside: The Yorkshire Post says

As the 60th anniversary of Prime Minister’s Questions falls this weekend, the redoubtable Betty Boothroyd has fired a warning shot about the “deterioration” of the political institution under Boris Johnson.

Former Speaker of the House of Commons Baroness Betty Boothroyd, in her office at Westminster, London in 2017. Picture: James Hardisty

The former Speaker, who hails from Dewsbury, did not mince her words in an interview with Times Radio as she criticised the Prime Minister for refusing to answer question as well taking aim at backbenchers asking softball questions about constituency matters rather than using the forum to hold the Government to account.

Baroness Boothroyd may have been a Labour MP before becoming Speaker but her record demonstrates that her complaints cannot be dismissed by Mr Johnson’s supporters as being party-political.

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When Tony Blair combined PMQs into a single 30-minute format on Wednesday after previously being two 15-minute sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays, she ensured that the leader of the Opposition was given six questions to properly challenge the then-Labour leader, the system which is still used to this day.

Baroness Boothroyd also highlighted the increasingly testy relationship between Mr Johnson and present Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, not just in relation to his answers, or lack of them, at PMQs, but also the repeated practice of big announcements, particularly relating to life-altering coronavirus restrictions, being made to the media instead of the House of Commons.

As a nation which is a proud Parliamentary democracy, this all matters deeply. Mr Johnson must take heed.

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