Rishi Sunak has a worse PMQs attendance record than Liz Truss

Rishi Sunak has a worse PMQs attendance record than Liz Truss
PMQs: SNP Westminster leader tells Rishi Sunak to 'grow up'

Rishi Sunak has seemingly developed an aversion to PMQs.

The prime minister will not attend the session today as he is attending a service in Westminster Abbey to mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS and he isn't showing up next week either as he is popping to a Nato summit in Lithuania.

These events sound pretty important, so perhaps it is fair enough, but these skipped sessions are becoming all the more regular.

Indeed, it will mean that since becoming PM last October, he will have missed six of the 29 PMQs sessions which have taken place, or 21 per cent of sessions.

This is the worst attendance record of any recent PM, dating back to the days of Margaret Thatcher.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

He has already missed as many PMQs as Boris Johnson, who in total missed 6 per cent of sessions, did in three years.

Even Liz Truss had a 100 per cent attendance record, though to be fair she was PM for such a short amount of time that she only had to attend three.

After Sunak, the most PMQs shy PMs were Gordon Brown and John Major who both skipped 12 per cent of their sessions.

In contrast, the keenest swot, after Truss, was Tony Blair who only skipped 5 per cent of sessions in his decade-long premiership.

So it looks like Sunak isn't pulling his weight. With that in mind, he has been slagged off by a number of MPs who think he should turn up for work.

Speaking at at the liaison committee this week, Labour MP Chris Bryant for instance said: “Remind us when a PM last missed two PMQs in a row?”

Sunak replied: “Are you suggesting I shouldn’t attend the Nato summit on behalf of the UK?”

Bryant hit back: “No I’m suggesting that you should be attending PMQs.”

Thangam Debbonaire MP, Labour’s shadow leader of the House of Commons, said: “Rishi Sunak’s record of ducking scrutiny shows he is running scared.

“He’s too weak to defend his failure to bring down the cost of living for working people who, under his watch, have been hit by the Tory mortgage penalty and soaring rents.

“A credible prime minister would show some leadership, accept the need for scrutiny and answer questions from MPs on behalf of the people we represent.”

So how has Sunak defended himself? A government source reportedly told Huffington Post: “The prime minister is attending a service to thank the NHS for their extraordinary work, particularly following a global pandemic - a service that Sir Keir Starmer is attending.

“He will also be going to Lithuania for the Nato summit to represent the UK and lead the way to push for further support for Ukraine to secure their victory and ensure the long-term security of our nation.

“We won’t take any lessons from Sir Keir Starmer on scrutiny given they are happy to encourage senior civil servants to break the rules and then hire them.”

There you go then.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)