Who won PMQs? 'Robotic' Liz Truss clashes with Keir Starmer for the very first time

Who won PMQs? 'Robotic' Liz Truss clashes with Keir Starmer for the very first time
Sir Keir ‘doesn’t understand aspiration’, Liz Truss claims

Today was a very big day for new Prime Minister Liz Truss.

Having met the Queen yesterday to make things official, and having packed her cabinet with loyalists and cretins, today was the day for her to get to grips with one of the most publicised parts of a PM's job, prime ministers questions - in which the leader faces opposition in parliament to defend their policies.

We are sure the country was intrigued as us to see how Truss would differ from her predecessor, Boris Johnson, who we could mouth along to by the end of his premiership; his lines about "getting Brexit done" and "Captain Hindsight" becoming a weekly refrain in British politics.

Was Truss a more compelling speaker, or did she just go on about cheese and pork markets?

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Let's take a look.

Truss: "I want us to continue to stand up to that appalling Russian aggression," 9/10

After Starmer asked her about the energy crisis, Truss started proceedings by thanking the opposition for supporting the Tories against Vladimir Putin and called on the Labour Party to continue working with them. It was an important note of unity to strike as early as possible to make the West look strong in the face of Russia, so we have to hand it to her on that one.

Starmer: "Is she going to leave these vast excess profits on the table and make working people foot the bill for decades to come?" 10/10

But when she said she was against a windfall tax, the unity broke and Starmer outlined why it was ridiculous for her to ignore a blossoming supply of money in favour of cutting corporation tax.

Truss: "We can't just put a sticking plaster on it," 4/10

In response, Truss insisted she understands that people are "struggling with the cost of living" and said she would make an announcement about her big plan for energy tomorrow. But she said she wanted to focus on long-term solutions like investing in more nuclear energy.

"This country will not be able to tax itself to growth," she said, and just like that we heard the distant sounds of the 1980s grow louder. Every radio station crackled and changed to The Smiths. The earth shook and Margaret Thatcher rose from the ground and shouted out, and everyone put down their new Rubik's cubes. Or something like that.

Starmer: "Her first act as prime minister is to borrow more than is needed because she won't touch excess profits," 8/10

A sensible Starmer once again showed why Truss's plans are totally bonkers and asked her why she is prioritising the growth of huge companies over working people. "Families and public services need every penny they can get," he said.

"I'm on the side of people who work hard and do the right thing," 1/10

Truss insisted that her policies would lead to investment and growth. But we're not sure the suggestion that companies do the right thing while working people who are struggling don't will go down that well.

Starmer: "She's reheating George Osborne's failed corporation plans" 8/10

So Starmer continued attacking Truss's economic plan and compared her to Osborne, sealing her fate as utterly cheugy. At least someone can afford to reheat something.

"The face at the top may change but the story remains the same," Starmer continued, looking back at the previous Tory PMs with utter disdain and attacking their belief in trickle down economics as "fantasy".

Truss: "There's nothing new about a Labour leader who is calling for more tax rises...He doesn't understand aspiration," 0/10

The response? Having taken a leaf out of Thatcher's book earlier, Truss closed it, looked for something else to read and landed on Johnson, copying his tendency to launch unsubstantiated nonsense attacks on the opposition. Oh dear.

She got a few cheap jeers, and as that is the currency in politics, who are we to criticise her?

The verdict

No-one can accuse Liz Truss of being charismatic. The new PM spoke in such a wooden way, she sounded like a GCSE foreign languages student trying to fluff her way through a speaking exam having not done any revision, as she and Starmer chewed over the economy with all the academic vigour of, again, two GCSE students arguing.

Having spent most of the summer touring round the country during Tory party hustings, speaking to audiences she knew would agree with her, Truss seemed surprised to meet with the opposition for the first time and failed to adapt her lines for this new audience.

Starmer on the other hand seemed more muted than he did during his conversations with Johnson. Perhaps it is the optics of a man screaming at a woman, or maybe Johnson just wound him up more than Truss did.

So we'll judge them on their general content, not their delivery and in the battle of supply-side economics vs tax and spend, we'd say we much prefer the latter.

That being the case, Starmer wins his first battle against his new opponent, but it being one of many more fights to come, we'll see if he can hold his nerve.

But don't take our word for it. Here's what some others made of it:

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