PMQs sketch: Demob happy Corbyn finally lands some blows on the Tories - it's just a shame it's years too late

Have your say

It may have taken a number of years but Jeremy Corbyn seems to have finally got to grips with this opposition business.

It’s a shame it comes when he’ll be out of the job in two months.

Jeremy Corbyn during PMQs. Photo: PA

Jeremy Corbyn during PMQs. Photo: PA

Taking apart Government decisions in a calm, concise, and - crucially - damaging manner is the job of the Labour Party at PMQs, but so often have we seen that lacking.

Not today.

Staring on relatively safe ground Boris Johnson was hammered over the deportation flight, which took off with only a portion of its planned passengers after a successful judicial challenge.

Returning to his tried and tested method of highlighting individual cases of struggle Corbyn successfully made the case for those judged too dangerous to be in the country, before turning the exercise on Johnson himself with withering effect.

He said: "If there was a case of a young white boy with blonde hair, who later dabbled in class A drugs and conspired with a friend to beat up a journalist - would he deport that boy? Is it one rule for young black boys from the Caribbean and another for young white boys from the United States?"

In Johnson’s response he said Corbyn “besmirches the reputation of the Windrush generation who came to this country to work in our public services, to teach our children in this country, to make lives better for people in this country. He has no right to conflate them with those foreign national offenders that we are deporting today”.

Although I’m not sure Labour were the ones to besmirch the Windrush generation - that lies with the Tory benches - Corbyn was wise not to dwell on the matter for too long, however, as the public on a whole seems to have little interest in protecting foreign nationals who have been convicted of serious crimes.

The Labour leader landed some other blows with Johnson even conceding the extradition agreement with the USA was unequal. Johnson said: "To be frank, I think (Corbyn) has a point in his characterisation of our extradition arrangements with the United States and I do think there are elements of that relationship that are imbalanced. I certainly think it is worth looking at.”

And the PM conceded again on a payrise for the Lords, turning to his front bench to angrily ask why they were getting extra cash before agreeing with SNP MP Kirsten Oswald that it was “odd”.

Of course letting these little chinks in the armour show is in the gift of a Prime Minister with a stonking majority, he is in no danger of facing uproar from his backbences.

But there has been a clear change since the election, if I dare to call it such, it’s a slight softening. Less confrontational, more of a team player.

Johnson for his part kept his answers short - all the scheduled questions from 15 MPs were asked by 12.22pm, allowing another 11 politicians to get their views heard.

It bodes well for the next few weeks that Corbyn may be a bit demob happy. If he doesn’t keep it up he runs the risk of continuing to allow the Government to set the narrative.