Watch live as deputy PM Dominic Raab takes questions in parliament
Independent

It is that time of the week again when the opposition scrutinises the government and we all get to laugh at some punchy lines and bitter jibes.

This week's PMQs was no different, apart from being marked by the absence of Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer, who both had other stuff on their plates, meaning it was time for their respective deputies Dominic Raab and Angela Rayner to fight it out.

The pair discussed the ongoing war in Ukraine, as was to be expected, but also managed to fit in some clashed on Partygate, the cost of living crisis and more.

Let's take a look at what went on.

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Rayner: "Lazy comments from the PM worsened the situation" 8/10

Rayner started the session by celebrating reports that detained citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been released and is travelling home from Iran. She said the government should review the cases of other nationals detained in Iran and other countries and ascertain whether "more could be done" by the government.

She referred to the time in November 2017 when the then foreign secretary, one Boris Johnson told a parliamentary select committee that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “teaching people journalism” in Iran. He was heavily criticised and forced to apologise as this was then used as evidence that she was engaged in “propaganda against the regime”.

Raab: "We have done absolutely everything that we can, she shouldn't give succor to the despotic regime that detained our nationals in Iran or around the world by suggesting its anyone else's responsibility other than theirs." 7/10

Raab rejected Rayner's line of attack and claimed she was giving "succor" to Iran. He has a point that Iran was most at fault but Johnson's comments certainly didn't help at all.

Rayner: Johnson has "gone cap in hand from one dictator to another to the Saudi Prince to bail him out...relying on another murderous dictator to keep the lights on”. 9/10

Next Rayner criticised the government for the talks it is holding with Saudi Arabia to secure oil and gas and move away from reliance on Putin. She said the Conservatives have been in power for 12 years and in that time should have invested in homegrown energy rather than power from abroad. Not doing so "has left us all vulnerable", she claimed, before asking Raab if the government's plan was "to keep on begging?"

Raab then praised the PM and implied Jeremy Corbyn would have been a worse leader until speaker of the house Sir Lindsay Hoyle told them to stop banging on about "history".

Rayner: "They partied while the country was in lockdown." 8/10

In case the war had made us forget about allegations of wrongdoing by government staff, Rayner then pushed Partygate up the news agenda once more and left Raab scowling in response.

Rayner then said the British people had "a sorry excuse for a government" and slammed their tax policies, covering all policy bases in a mere few sentences.

Raab: "We've shown the big-hearted spirit of this government," 4/10

Raab then rattled off policies the government has enacted to deal with Russia including sanctioning over 1000 oligarchs and creating schemes to support fleeing refugees.

Raab might have the most dry sense of irony in the world though, as the UK has been heavily criticised domestically and internationally for not doing more to help refugees.

While the EU has temporarily waived visas to allow displaced Ukrainians to, the UK previously has only committed to allowing those with familiar links to enter the country and now people can sign up to house refugees themselves, but only if they know the name of the person they will house.

Labour has called it "DIY asylum", which isn't exactly the same as "big-hearted".

Verdict

Rayner and Raab usually makes for unmissable viewing but on this occasion neither party seemed to have their heart in it and hurried through a few key issues before calling it a day.

Time for their bosses to come back to work.

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