Theresa May being called 'queen of Brexit' by an arch-Eurosceptic at Prime Minister's Questions shows Budget is giving her a rare good week

When Chancellor Philip Hammond and Theresa May are being praised as the 'king and queen of Brexit' by arch-Eurosceptic Tory MP Peter Bone, you know it is a good week for the Prime Minister.

Theresa May took questions for the first time since Chancellor Philip Hammond's Budget on Monday.
Theresa May took questions for the first time since Chancellor Philip Hammond's Budget on Monday.

Never mind Mr Hammond’s quizzical look at his backbench colleague’s almost certainly incorrect suggestion there could be a no deal “Brexit dividend Budget” - Mrs May will have left the Commons feeling the most secure she has in weeks, or even months.

In the chamber, it was her best PMQs possibly since the disastrous snap election she called in June 2018.

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Armed with almost across-the-board income tax cuts thanks to Mr Hammond, Mrs May was able to rally her previously despondent Tory troops to a crescendo.

It recalled David Cameron’s heyday during a spontaneous call and response, with Tory MPs shouting “down” as the PM mentioned income tax, unemployment and borrowing, and “up” as she claimed to have boosted support for public services, wages and growth.

She had been helped by Jeremy Corbyn, who walked straight into an attack on Labour’s confusion over the tax cuts in the Budget by asking about the policy early in the session.

But while Mrs May will have been overjoyed with the rousing reception she got from her own MPs, many of them will be wary of her pivot to spending more and declaring austerity over.

The Commons has never been Mr Corbyn’s favoured battleground and he will surely fare better in an election campaign with his demands to know how austerity has ended for rank-and-file police officers, schools, and welfare claimants, many of whom are in work, which received either a “little extra” or nothing in this Budget.

Only hard cash will allow the PM to win that fight.