Mike Graham and Charlotte Ivers decode PMQs

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Today’s Prime Minister’s Questions saw MPs appearing from home via video link to scrutinise the government's handling of coronavirus.

talkRADIO’s Mike Graham has been discussing the historic parliamentary session with political correspondent Charlotte Ivers.


Sir Keir Starmer’s first performance as Labour leader

Comparing Sir Keir to his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn, Mike said the former barrister showed “less hysteria” and was “more forensic” in his questioning.

Charlotte described the new leader of the opposition as “challenging but collegiate” in his approach.

She also noted the “very, very different tone” of the virtual sitting, as sparse backbenches were devoid of the usual cheering and jeering.


Were MPs travelling to the Commons unnecessarily?

Despite the marked reduction in the number of MPs present in the House, Mike questioned whether those who did attend in person had done so unnecessarily.

Charlotte said there was “a balance to be drawn”.

“A lot of these MPs view it as their public duty to be in the Chamber, they view it as vital to the functioning of democracy.”

She also explained that ministers facing questions have been told they must be present.


What can you tell from a the backdrop of a conference call?

Charlotte explained that MPs had been given instructions on ensuring the suitable background to their video call so as not to distract journalists from their point.

Bookcases have remained a popular favourite, while the SNP’s Ian Blackford showcased two footballs and a clock.


Read more

PMQs: Keir Starmer criticises ‘slow’ coronavirus response

MPs return to Parliament in historic virtual PMQs

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