'Shame on Fifa': Keir Starmer condemns anti-LGBT crackdown at Qatar World Cup

It is a question that plagues us every Wednesday. It keeps us tossing and turning on Tuesday night as we prepare for it to come the next day. Cries of "Mr Speaker" haunt our dreams. It is a big question - perhaps even the biggest question.

The question is - of course - who won PMQs? Who? WHO?

This week, prime minister Rishi Sunak and leader of the opposition Keir Starmer faced each other to fight for us to answer this very question, after they last week had a break with their deputies taking their place.

The pair discussed the state of the UK economy, people with non-dom tax status, and with the World Cup distracting the nation, managed to make a couple of footie analogies too.

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But who won?

Sunak: "We're getting on to deliver more growth", 5/10

Starmer started things off by attacking the PM over the economy, leaving Sunak stumbling.

The PM hasn't found his own style yet and frequently echoes Boris Johnson, the former PM who he shafted, which makes him look like a toddler learning from his father. "Getting on" was one of Johnson's favourite phrases, as was pretending Starmer is controlled by the unions, which is what he did next.

Starmer: "He's in total denial... he's like a football manager, bottom of the league at Christmas celebrating an away draw three months ago and it won't wash," 6/10

Football fanatic Starmer responded by shoehorning a football analogy into the House of Commons library - comparing Sunak to a bad manager. Much like most football games during the World Cup so far, it fell flat.

Sunak: "The challenges we face are international in nature," 5/10

So Sunak stopped pointing the finger at Labour, and got angry at the world instead. While he has a point, and the war in Ukraine and the recovery from Covid are global in nature, many statistics show the UK's recovery is doing badly on its own accord and lagging behind other countries facing the same issues.

Starmer: "There's only one party who crashed the economy and they are sitting there," 7/10

Starmer kicked the attack back at Sunak and the two had a tit-for-tat finger back and forth for a bit while the nation fell asleep.

Starmer: Under Labour we could live in a country where "people don't have to go private to get an appointment," 9/10

Cheekily, he then livened things up a bit and referenced reports that Sunak uses private healthcare instead of the NHS - making his commitment to the health service look pretty flimsy.

"He kills off the dream of home ownership, too weak to take on his party, too weak to take on vested interests," he continued in a fairly impressive rant. "Why do they always clobber working people?" he asked.

Sunak: "I stood on my principles and told the country what they needed to hear even though it was difficult," 4/10

Someone thinks highly of himself. Sunak patted himself on the back for his leadership bid before accusing Starmer of flip-flopping on various issues and only serving the interests of his own party. Pride comes before a fall, Sunak.

Verdict

It was a bit of a dull affair this week.

Perhaps the pair wanted to get back to the World Cup because the rushed through the whole thing, appearing to rely on pre-prepared answers and political cliches rather than say anything interesting.

We know the economy is in bits. We know who Labour blame and we know why the Tories think its struggling. What we don't know is whether anyone is going to do anything new about it rather than bleat the same arguments again and again and again (and again).

No winners this week so we guess it will go to penalties. Here's what other people made of it:

As for what will happen next week - that is yet another question.

It is a simple and fundamental principle that the government derives its democratic legitimacy from the people. The future of the country must not be decided by plotting and U-turns at Westminster; it must be decided by the people in a general election. And for this reason The Independent is calling for an election to be held. Have your say and sign our election petition by clicking here.

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