In a refreshing turn of events, the approach to this week’s Prime Ministers Questions shocked its viewership. In his first televised battle against Prime Minister David Cameron, Jeremy Corbyn, the now Labour Party Leader, sought to rid the show of its usual theatrics.
Corbyn openly claimed the shouting match the show had been reduced to over the past years had to end. Attempting to represent the people who voted for him, the Labour leader sent out an E-mail urging the public to ask him questions he could put forward to Cameron. A whopping 40,000 people responded to the E-mail – of those, six questions were asked in yesterdays’ highly viewed debate.
This televised British ritual takes place in the House of Commons, giving the opposition a chance to make sure their key concerns are being addressed by the party in power. Questions can be asked either by the leader of the opposition or MPs of any party. The speaker, John Bercow, then calls any MPs up randomly, who may then pose their questions or raise any concerns for the duration of the program.
The show, which has often been referred to as a ‘shouting match’ between pretentious and snobby MPs, gained a vast amount of criticism and meant that the British public was no longer tuning in to watch PMQs’, a debate specifically meant to involve the wider public. Over the years, however, this weekly political spectacle began to give way to childish and patronising insults by virtually most MPs merely attempting to ridicule their opposition and letting down their voters.
The Islington North MP however, raised questions on behalf of the British public by introducing a form on the Labour party website [below], allowing any member of the party tosubmit questions they would like to ask the PM such as concerns about housing, cuts to tax credits and mental health.
For the duration of the debate, social media exploded with comments under the Hashtag #PMQs, largely in favour of this more engaging and interesting Prime Ministers’ Questions. The upper hand was certainly held by Corbyn, as he introduced his own way to the frontbenches, ending the shameful weekly spectacle and showing once again how much the British public years for a new style of politics. Prime Ministers Questions has, for the first time, turned into a democratic and adult debate.
By Iara Kaiser