Boris Johnson says P&O sackings broke the law
Independent

After Dominic Raab and Angela Rayner failed to set the world on fire last week in the battle of the deputies, their bosses returned today to take on PMQs as normal.

The two politicians clashed on the P&O Ferries scandal as a lively house looked on, ready to cheer and boo, and one leader even said the word "a**e".

It was an unexpected session to say the least...

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Let's take a look at what happened:

Starmer: "What's the point of his government?" 10/10

After slamming the government for their handling of the P&O Ferries crisis, in which 800 workers were told they had been fired over a Zoom call, then replaced with cheap foreign labour, Starmer asked a question people have surely asked themselves countless times while watching the news over the last few years. And what a question it was.

Johnson: "We condemn the callous behaviour of P&O" 8/10

Johnson had a go at answering it with some strong rhetoric indeed and then said he believed the company had "broken the law" and that the government "will take them to court".

That didn't reassure Starmer though and he pointed to times Johnson hasn't exactly rushed to act and compared that to his readiness to help Owen Paterson over his sleaze scandal.

Johnson: "The minister needs to rip up his pre-scripted questions, I've just answered the question." 5/10

Johnson repeated his commitment to taking the company to court and mocked Starmer for pressing him further on the subject. Imagine being prepared for PMQs?

Johnson: Labour would "actively pitchfork investment away" 7/10

The PM then repeated the Tory argument that going in too hard on badly-behaved companies would dissuade them from doing business in the UK and that taking the company to court instead was a more reasonable response.

Labour would get out their "pitchfork" he insisted.

Starmer: "DP World must be quaking in their boots." 9/10

Sassy Starmer didn't think much of that imagery and said P&O Ferries' parent company probably wouldn't be that bothered by Johnson's response. He then criticised the government for failing to stop fire and rehire practices and said the prime minister was "all mouth and no trousers". What an image.

Johnson: "He would have made it impossible for us to protect UK employees in the way that we are going to do." 0/10

Johnson then took out his favourite comfort blanket and claimed EU laws would have prevented the UK from taking action against P&O. Audible groans rippled through parliament as he patted himself on the back for Brexit once again.

Starmer: "Why does the prime minister think they are going to take a crumb of comfort from his half-a**ed bluster and waffle today?" 9/10

At least it triggered this response from Starmer, though. It isn't often we get to hear a politician say a**e in the House of Commons and aside from that, Starmer seemed empathetic as he recalled the conversations he had had with sea workers this morning and told the PM how they were feeling.

It put Johnson on the back foot, as you will see...

Johnson: "It is two years to the day that we went into lockdown." 0/10

With as much grace as a P&O Ferry doing a three point turn, Johnson then segued clumsily into a chat about lockdown and how the Conservative government has made the economy great since then.

As usual, he falsely claimed that under the Labour party, the country would still be facing tough restrictions and slammed their employment and economic records despite the party not being in government for 12 years.

Not the smoothest way to dodge the question and change the subject. And Johnson talks about Starmer sticking to his script...

Verdict

Starmer said "half-arsed" and didn't get told off, showing that either speaker Lindsay Hoyle didn't hear him properly or that "arse" is considered parliamentary language.

For that contribution alone, he would take the win, but he did more than that.

He left Johnson looking weak and in the pocket of big companies, unable to curb their might, and set out what Labour would do differently.

He is the captain we would want onboard our ferry...

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