Theresa May dodges Brexit questions, mocks Labour in confident Parliament debut

Conservative lawmakers cheered British Prime Minister Theresa May as she repeatedly mocked the opposition while dodging key questions on Brexit on Wednesday, making a confident Parliamentary question time debut.

AFP July 20, 2016 20:17:18 IST
Theresa May dodges Brexit questions, mocks Labour in confident Parliament debut

London: Conservative lawmakers cheered British Prime Minister Theresa May as she repeatedly mocked the opposition while dodging key questions on Brexit on Wednesday, making a confident Parliamentary question time debut.

The weekly ritual of Prime Minister's Questions is seen as a key leadership test and May, Britain's second female Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher, passed with ease.

May relentlessly mocked opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran socialist who is facing a leadership challenge backed by dozens of his own MPs, using his own questions against him.

Theresa May dodges Brexit questions mocks Labour in confident Parliament debut

Theresa May speaks during her first session of Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons in London. AP

"I am interested that he refers to the situation of some workers who might have some job insecurity and potentially unscrupulous bosses," she told Corbyn. "A boss who doesn't listen to his workers? A boss who requires some of his workers to double their workload? And maybe even a boss who exploits the rules to further his own career. Remind him of anybody?"

Corbyn has been forced to give supporters multiple portfolios as he cannot find enough willing MPs to fill his shadow cabinet. "You refer to me as the second woman prime minister. In my years in the House, I've long heard the Labour party asking what the Conservative Party does for women — well, (it) just keeps making us prime minister."

She also mocked Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, a minority partner in a coalition government with the Conservatives between 2010 and 2015. "My party's a little bit bigger than his," she said.

May has been in government ever since Cameron won his first election in 2010 and several commentators said her experience showed in a commanding performance.

The Independent said May's style was "eerily reminiscent" of Thatcher, well known for her caustic rhetoric, and the Daily Mail's deputy political editor Jason Groves also said on Twitter that she appeared to be "channelling Thatcher".

But The Guardian said that while May had sounded "confident and assured and prime ministerial", her emulation of the so-called Iron Lady was "a little too contrived".

May only became Prime Minister last week after David Cameron stepped down in the wake of Britain's referendum vote to leave the European Union.

She dodged questions about whether Britain aimed to remain in the EU's Single Market and what restrictions should be placed on EU immigrants, a key issue during the referendum campaign.

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