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PMQs sketch: Cometh the hour, cometh the catchphrase

Theresa May had three simple words for the final Prime Minister’s Questions session of this truncated parliament.

With a general election six weeks away, messaging matters, especially when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn and what’s left of the Labour Party.

She was not saying: “I love you”.

Instead it was a point hammered home in a manner as subtle as bricks weighing multiple tonnes.

The PM used the phrase “strong and stable” nine times during a mammoth 56-minute question time session in the Commons.

Two of her nodding dog backbenchers repeated the words a couple of times for good measure while everyone else checked their watches.

Cometh the hour, cometh the catchphrase and tough talking Theresa was beginning to enjoy herself.

She sprinkled in the additional triplet “coalition of chaos” a further four times for good measure.

It’s not just Jezza you have to look out for, she was telling anyone who had managed to survive the sycophancy, there’s also those pesky Scottish Nationalists and rabble-rousing Liberal Democrats.

The bearded one had his own phrase to hammer home, though. He is for “the many, not the few”.

Good stuff. Might have worked better if he’d said it more than twice.

In fact, the whole session might have been more successful for him if he some focus, rather than just reading letters from the public.

Jez perhaps ended his parliamentary time as leader of the opposition as he began it 18 months ago, with a series of questions that only relate to each other insofar as he didn’t write them.

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson showed him how it was done by hitting the PM, who is actually not terribly good at this PMQs lark, where it hurts with two questions on pensions.

Then we lulled into MPs bowling underarms about their constituencies.

“We have run on a bit – so what,” John Bercow said as the session finished.

Let’s hope the Speaker of the House isn’t planning to make that his catchphrase.

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