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Theresa May tears into Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs



  • Leaders clash at PMQs for first time since dramatic election announcement
  • Theresa May dismissed Labour counterpart Corbyn as 'simply not fit to lead'
  • MPs preparing to back holding snap election on June 8 after Commons debate
  • Corbyn struggling to hold his party together with polls suggesting a Tory rout 

By James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline

Published: 12:24 BST, 19 April 2017 | Updated: 13:13 BST, 19 April 2017

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Theresa May warned that Jeremy Corbyn is 'simply not fit to lead' today as MPs prepared to sign off on holding a snap election. 

The Prime Minister hit out at the Opposition leader as they clashed for the first time since she rocked Westminster by announcing a national ballot on June 8.

The brutal exchanges came as the Commons was asked to give formal approval for Mrs May's decision.

Two-thirds of the House must support the move in order to overcome the Fixed Term Parliaments Act - which sets out that the next election should not be held until 2020.

Mrs May told the chamber that she had changed her mind on the election issue because it would help in the coming Brexit talks.

'A general election is the best wat to strengthen Britain's hand in the negotiations ahead,' she said.

Mr Corbyn is struggling to hold his party together with surveys showing it faces a rout on June 8 - losing up to a third of its MPs.

Several MPs have already announced they will not fight for re-election with the prospects looking hopeless.

In the House of Commons today, Mrs May accused Labour of wanting to borrow £500billion and hike taxes to fund a spending spree.

She dismissed Mr Corbyn as 'simply not fit to lead' as she urged voters to give her a mandate to push through Brexit.

But Mr Corbyn said she was 'running scared' by refusing to face him in TV debates during the campaign. 

He asked why 'anyone should believe a word they say', accusing the Tories of 'breaking every promise' over the last seven years.

Mrs May insisted she will be out campaigning and promoting the Government's record to voters as well as her plans to 'make Brexit a success and build a stronger Britain for the future'.

Theresa May tore into Labour at PMQs in the House of Commons today
Theresa May tore into Labour at PMQs in the House of Commons today

Theresa May tore into Labour at PMQs in the House of Commons today

On the issue of TV debates, Mrs May said: 'First of all I'd point out that I have been answering your questions and debating these matters every Wednesday that Parliament has been sitting since I became Prime Minister.' 

Speaker John Bercow had to intervene as the shouts from the Labour benches intensified.

Mrs May added: 'A stronger economy with a deficit two-thirds down, but people will have a real choice at this election.

'They will have a choice between a Conservative Government that has shown we can build a stronger economy and a Labour Party whose economic policy would bankrupt this country.'

In a dramatic statement on the steps of Downing Street yesterday, the Prime Minister fired the starting gun on a poll that she hopes will deliver her an unassailable majority to shape the country's future.

She blamed opposition parties who have been trying to frustrate Brexit for her sudden change of heart after months insisting she will not hold an election - singling out Nicola Sturgeon's efforts to exploit the situation to tear the UK apart.

The bold move took even Cabinet members by surprise, having been kept a closely guarded secret between a handful of the premier's closest allies and aides.

Jeremy Corbyn said the PM was 'running scared' by refusing to face him in TV debates during the campaign
Jeremy Corbyn said the PM was 'running scared' by refusing to face him in TV debates during the campaign

Jeremy Corbyn said the PM was 'running scared' by refusing to face him in TV debates during the campaign

It is the penultimate PMQs before the House is dissolved for the general election on June 8
It is the penultimate PMQs before the House is dissolved for the general election on June 8

It is the penultimate PMQs before the House is dissolved for the general election on June 8

Brexit Secretary David Davis and Chancellor Philip Hammond have been jointly pressing the PM to call an early vote for some time, and were informed of Mrs May's decision at a meeting on Monday. 

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd are understood to have been told yesterday morning shortly before the gathering of her top team in No10.

Only the chief whip Gavin Williamson and Conservative Party chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin are believed to have been in on the secret for more than a few days, as they had to start making preparations.

 

 

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