PMQs sketch: Theresa May gives up taking responsibility for Lent

It seems unusual now in British politics when a domestic issue leads the agenda ahead of Brexit.

The Prime Minister answers questions in the Commons

But this week’s headlines have been dominated by the surge in knife crime after a spate of tragic deaths, and it dominated Prime Minister’s Questions as well.

Under pressure from Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May was keen establish that it wasn’t her fault, repeatedly saying that “responsibility for these crimes will always lie with the perpetrators”.

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This followed her assertion earlier in the week that the plummeting police numbers seen on her watch as Home Secretary and then Prime Minister were also not to blame for rising violent crime.

Mrs May went on to list a number ways that the knife crime epidemic could be tackled, including fighting the drugs trade, bolstering youth services and intervening early to prevent people falling into criminality.

The problem is that many of these areas have suffered funding cuts under successive Tory administrations, in which she has played a central part.

Mr Corbyn blamed austerity, but apparently that wasn’t Mrs May’s fault either, as she reached for the tried and tested refrain of blaming public spending levels under the last Labour government for the belt-tightening that followed.

In a brief moment of comic relief, and in response to a question from backbencher Simon Hoare, the Prime Minister quipped that Britain would be giving up the EU for Lent.

Given this week’s performance it’s clear that the Prime Minister has given up something else for the religious period - taking responsibility.