Perfectly pitched – Jo’s first PMQ

It’s quite difficult to find the right words for your first appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions. But when your debut coincides with the departure of the Prime Minister, it’s even tougher.

You don’t want to be too attacking given that the person you are questioning has just been forced out of office, even if she has been responsible for the hostile environment.

What Jo managed with this question was to land blows Boris, who she’s said consistently is not fit to be PM and to give May the opportunity to attack Labour for being the only party not to have had a woman leader.

A very successful debut.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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12 Comments

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Jul '19 - 12:24am

    There are those like me who voted and campaigned for Jo as fresh and positive, who are aware she is not putting a foot wrong, an excellent first day or two!

    There are those like me who defended and admired aspects of May, as determined and moderate, who are aware on seeing this farewell as we see the first day of the new pm, we may, no pun intended, miss the outgoing one!!

  • What an exciting time to be a Lib Dem. The centre ground has opened up like a giant chasm just waiting for us to take our moment in time. Jo Swinson is what this party needs right now. Already had a poll boost with Yougov tonight placing us in 2nd spot only 2 pts behind the Tories on 23%. “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government”.

  • Bill le Breton 25th Jul '19 - 7:28am

    Perfectly pitched Caron – yes it was. And it reveals an understanding of the way to campaign against Bojo.

    But yesterday was ominous.

    The list of spending plans is pure “populist social democratic”. Thatcherite it was not. Expect borrowing to rise. He believes in the money tree and will take its fruit.

    Secondly on his first day he launched a huge Facebook campaign. With what, you ask? With a survey of course – like any self respecting Lib Dem starting out to win a ward or a seat.

    “This is what I believe – what do you believe?” the Facebook ads inquired.

    Not just a survey but a targeted survey. The message went out in over 500 subtly different forms. Did YOU get one?

    We are up against a master campaigner in Dominic Cummins. Some kind of Cambridge Analytics is already at work.

    Are we ready for this?

  • Jo now needs to respond to the cabinet appointments with a measured and sympathetic pitch to moderate conservative voters, whose party has just left them, and avoid the temptation simply to try and score a few cheap personal points off the more bizarre of the appointments.

  • This was actually shown on the BBC 6pm news. Jo said she would be able to get more media attention – and is delivering!

  • The outgoing Prime Minister spoke about being true to yourself – the ultimate challenge for any politician. Jo has a great opportunity to demonstrate how this can be reflected in the way her style chimes with the way the party needs to operate – not least in the work of the Press Office. I still have faith in the capacity of the people of this country to separate the wheat from the chaff. Meanwhile Mrs May came in bang on cue in inviting people to think about the integrity of her successor.

  • chris moore 25th Jul '19 - 8:44am

    Fine start.

    Jo has a touch of star dust!

  • Bill – you say he believes in the money tree, but I think that does him too much credit. I think he just doesn’t care about the consequences and wants to enjoy his moment in the spotlight, and to buy enough support to get through whatever form of Brexit is proposed.

    I’m also not convinced the tax policy at least is populism as such, I think that in reality his interest in it rests in appealing to a relatively small number of people. It hardly seems a coincidence to me that while trying to do something really unpopular with MPs, he’s offering a tax break that would make them all a few grand a year better off. It would be corruption if he was using his own money to convince them, but if he uses our money its politics – or so it would seem.

  • I was very impressed by her determination in herBBC interview on Tuesday. Asked what she would do if there were a second referendum and another leave majority, she made it clear she would still oppose Brexit. Very consistent and very brave.

  • Sue Sutherland 25th Jul '19 - 12:05pm

    I haven’t seen anything of the Facebook survey so far, but what Bill describes is the start of an election campaign. Boris is preparing for losing the vote in the HoC which makes sense of his Ministerial appointments. He wants a Cabinet that will rubber stamp his decisions and isn’t bothered that he’s created more opponents in his back benches because he’s started his election campaign already. He’s anticipated it and is up for it. He may be a buffoon but he isn’t stupid.

  • Barry Lofty 25th Jul '19 - 1:45pm

    Boris Johnson maybe many things but it is clear to me that he is the front man for a group of very dangerous politicians and backers and unless he is challenged early on the UK is in for a very torrid future. When the brexiteers said they wanted to bring back control to the UK I think they meant control for them!!!

  • Bill le Breton 26th Jul '19 - 7:08am

    PhilB, I accept your criticism.

    BoJo is doing nothing different than a host of PMs with power over the Treasury and a too slender majority; in short what Wilson did between ’64 and ’66 and again between Feb ’74 and October of that year – they try to buy an election using the Government’s ability to borrow.

    And the greater the difficulty he has in achieving his declared aims the more ammunition he has to appeal to voters to give him more power.

    What I worried a month ago would be Farage’s tactics over the coming years I now see as Johnson’s over the next weeks months and perhaps years.

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