PMQs proved that Jeremy Corbyn is not going to save besieged Rishi Sunak anymore

Sunak references Jeremy Corbyn as why Brits ‘can’t trust Labour’

Rishi Sunak has almost always come off better than the trained top lawyer Sir Keir Starmer in the weekly bouts in PMQs.

But today the Prime Minister learnt that excellent preparation and reaching into his back pocket to use the spectre of Jeremy Corbyn has its limits.

Had this been a boxing match he would have arrived in the ring with his hands tied behind his back and already punched in the nose several times.

With a reshuffle this week which delivered David Cameron as a Foreign Secretary in the Lords after serious questions over his relationship with a collapsed financial company and the Rwanda ruling in the Supreme Court this morning, Starmer could barely miss.

He went in on Rwanda and a chagrined-looking Prime Minister quickly went to his go-to defence – former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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He said: “I’m not going to take lectures from a man who wanted to make the Member for Islington North (Corbyn) Prime Minister.”

For perhaps the first time ever, Starmer was ready with a devastating reply.

“I’m glad he has acknowledged that the Labour Party has changed,” he said pointing out that Corbyn is no longer in the Labour Party before moving on.

The cheers behind Sunak also were not as loud as they had previously been when delivering his Corbyn lines and therein lay his problem.

The Prime Minister had gone into battle today with a significant proportion of his MPs now firmly against him and believing he had betrayed them on the key issue of stopping the boats.

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Starmer then stuck in the knife, knowing that many Conservative backbenchers were planning the same question.

He said: “He promised to stop the boats this year, today is November 15 and he is not going to stop the boats.”

There was no real comeback to that, apart from the lines that Labour had opposed all the measures the Government had tried.

And then it was a waiting game.

Deputy Party chairman Lee Anderson, a supporter of the now sacked former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, was among a number of backbenchers waiting to ask the killer question.

The Speaker was relatively kind sticking to the published list which enabled prepared questions on constituency matters.

But it was only a matter of time and eventually Harborough MP Neil O’Brien delivered.

When will the Prime Minister withdraw or block the European Convention of Human Rights and its Strasbourg court from preventing the Rwanda deportation scheme for illegal migrants?

There was little to cheer about in the reply.

“We are working on a new treaty with Rwanda to address the court’s concerns,” the Prime Minister said.

In a week where the right of his party had already been infuriated by the ousting of Mrs Braverman and others on their side of his Government, this was not what they wanted to hear.

Starmer won the contest today but the real danger was on the Government benches behind the Prime Minister.

Even invoking the ghost of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership will not save him from MPs asking for a leadership vote.

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