After a dismal set of local elections, an unusually boisterous Rishi Sunak waved Tony Blair around like a weapon against Keir Starmer at PMQs, writes Sascha O’Sullivan.
After a weekend imbued with tradition, Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer continued the national history lesson, and used Prime Minister’s Questions to quote former inhabitants of Downing Street.
With a strong opening gambit after dismal local election results, Sunak recycled a vintage PMQs line from Tony Blair in 2007, who once told David Cameron: “The right honourable gentleman can be as cocky as he likes about the local elections, come a general election, policy counts.”
He couldn’t, however, quite bring himself to finish the quote, which said: “On policy, we win and he loses.”
Stung by the use of his idol as a verbal bayonet, Starmer told Sunak he had yet to even win a vote amongst his own party, let alone the election.
“Last year, he lost a Tory beauty contest to (Liz Truss), who then lost to a lettuce. No matter who the electorate is, the prime minister keeps entering a two horse race, and somehow finishing third.”
An unusually boisterous Rishi, still feeling svelte from his Taylor-Swift themed Soul Cycle class over the weekend, clawed back some control, threatening to read the extensive list of promises made by Keir Starmer which he has now backtracked on.
“It’s a bit rich to hear about mandates,” yelled the PM, “when he’s broken every promise he was elected on. He’s not just Sir Softie, he’s Sir Flaky too.”
Thankfully Sunak, who hasn’t eaten processed sugar since 2012, managed to get the words out before he started salivating, before launching an attack on Rachel Reeves to distract everyone while he scoffed down a Mexican Coke.
Starmer, leaping to the defence of his Shadow Chancellor and still smarting from the Blair insult, bellowed back: “There’s only one party who broke the economy and they’re sitting right there.”
As he waved his finger wildly over the opposite benches, trying to draw the ghost of Theresa May in the air, he continued: “To quote one of his more electorally successful predecessors, ‘nothing has changed’.”.