PMQs sketch: 'A shell which has been voided' is filled as Johnson returns to the Commons
Blinking in the sun and wiping the sleep away from his eyes the Prime Minister emerged today for his first appearance in public for 11 days, as the world burned, in some places quite literally, around him.
With knife-edge votes a thing of the past now the Tories have a stonking majority, PMQs again became the set piece by which the Government could get a good grilling, and it all fell back to a ‘business as usual’ vibe as, despite World War Three seemingly simmering in the background, foreign policy was somewhere the PM and his opposition counterpart Jeremy Corbyn could truly show they differed.
Boris Johnson spoke of the Iran nuclear deal as a “shell which has been voided, but it remains a shell into which we can put substance again” - potentially a reference to how the PM felt himself as he clambered back into his suit this morning to head back to Parliament.
Mr Johnson dodged the question of whether the killing of General Qassem Soleimani was legal and instead attacked Mr Corbyn for not condemning the activities of the military leader.
It would not have been difficult for Mr Corbyn to give a measured response of criticising Soleimani’s actions while also questioning the ramping up of tensions in the Middle East.
But as is too often the case with the outgoing Labour leader, he did not clarify.
The other significant change in the chamber was the absence of screams of “Order!” from the Speaker’s chair, as Sir Lindsay Hoyle preceded over the House for his first PMQs in the role.
The most noise came in fact when Margaret Thatcher’s name was uttered not once, but twice, prompting cheers and boos from, well, you can guess which benches respectively.
As a first PMQs of the new Parliament it came off without many injuries - it will have to wait until April to see what comes from the new Labour leader.