Angela Rayner suggests Boris Johnson is 'clinging on to power' after surviving ...
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It was PMQs but not as we know it today, after Angela Rayner and Dominic Raab went head to head in Boris Johnson’s absence.

The PM is away as world leaders attend the NATO summit in Madrid, which means the Deputy leader Raab took questions from Deputy Labour leader Rayner.

It was a chance for Labour to mix things up after a slightly lackluster few weeks in session in inside the chamber, with Keir Starmer failing to capitalise despite Johnson's less than resounding no-confidence vote win, before Starmer compared the PM to Jabba the Hutt in pretty bizarre scenes and then the pair clashing over rail strikes.

It was a chance for Rayner and Raab to impress with Johnson away – but who put in a better performance?

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Let’s take a look.

Rayner and Raab went toe to toe in today's sessionParliament

Angela Rayner - The PM lost two by-elections in one day

“It’s no wonder the Prime Minister has fled the country,” Rayner jokes, after welcoming the two new MPs to the house following Tory losses in Wakefield and Tiverton and Hoverton.

“The Prime Minister isn’t just losing the room, he’s losing the country,” she adds making a strong start.

7/10

Dominic Raab - We want Johnson to last longer than you want Starmer

Taking on the jibe, Raab hits back with his own - which earns a big reaction from the benches behind him.

“A reminder that we want this PM to go on a lot longer than she wants the current leader of the Labour party to go on for,” he says.

Rayner smiles back at the deputy PM, acknowledging the comeback.

8/10

Angela Rayner - I want Starmer to be PM

Rayner says she doesn’t want Starmer to be Opposition leader, she wants him to be Prime Minister.

She claims the country “can’t stomach” Johnson any longer, before asking asking how many more tax rises the Tories will implement before the nation say “enough is enough”.

Rayner says Government will have “inflicted 55 tax rises” on struggling families if Boris Johnson ‘limps on’ until 2030.

This looks like Rayner setting out her approach - hitting out at high Tory taxation.

She then urges the Tories to call a general election and let the people decide.

6/10

Dominic Raab - Labour is taking people back to year zero

Raab then claims “we are the ones helping working people” by supporting people on the lowest incomes - earning jibes from the opposite benches.

He then brags of “record levels of investment” before saying “with Labour, it’s back to year zero.”

4/10

Angela Rayner: Raab and the Tories are out of touch

Rayner highlighted Raab’s previous comments on food bank users, saying they weren’t in poverty but had ‘cash flow problems’ - before contrasting that with his own spending, with £1million spent on private jets in the past year.

7/10

Dominic Raab - Labour should stand up to strikes

The deputy PM parrots Johnson’s line of attack from last week’s PMQs, saying that if Labour really want to help working people, they should condemn the train strikes.

Raab called out Rayner’s own comments on the strikes, and called her out for attending a music festival and ‘sipping champagne’. He then calls her a ”champagne socialist" - a pretty lazy character assassination there.

4/10

Angela Rayner - Where were the Tories when negations were taking place?

Rayner then called out the Tories for failing to negotiate a solution to the strikes, instead sitting at the ‘banqueting table squeezing money out of their donors’.

After an interruption from the Speaker, she calls out the ‘irony’ of a ‘baying mob’ implementing the controversial ‘noisy protest laws’.

6/10

Dominic Rayner - where was Raab during the Afghanistan crisis?

After Raab brings up Rayner’s campaigning for Jeremy Corbyn and his desire to bring the UK out of NATO, he says he wouldn’t trust her on British defence.

However, Rayner has a strong response, asking ‘where was Raab during the fall of Kabul last year? On a sun lounger’ - a reference to that fact that Raab was holidaying with his family in Crete.

8/10

Verdict

Rayner will probably feel like she didn’t grasp the opportunity in the absence of Johnson, after failing to make much of an impact against Raab - who seemed pretty well prepared here.

While Rayner grew in stature towards the end of the session, and there were no clear winners on either side, you feel Raab will be the happier coming away from an opportunity like today.

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