PMQs: Boris Johnson compared to 'Jabba the Hutt' and accused of 'feeding off division' amid recession fears
In a week that has seen the Labour leader tell his Cabinet to stop briefing that he is boring, Sir Keir made considerably more jokes than usual.
Referencing the RMT rail strikes scheduled for next week, the former head QC claimed Mr Johnson had done nothing to stop them.
Sir Keir said: “He’s in Government, he could do something to stop the strikes. But he hasn’t lifted a finger. I don’t want the strikes to go ahead, but he does. He wants the country to grind to a halt, so he can feed off the division.
“And as for his boasting about the economy, he thinks he can perform Jedi mind tricks on the country. ‘These aren’t the droids you’re looking for, no rules were broken, the economy is booming’. The problem is the force just isn’t with him any more.
“He thinks he’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, the truth is he’s Jabba the Hutt.
"Last week he stood there and boasted that we would continue to grow the economy. This week it turns out the economy shrank for the second month in a row. How does it help Britain to have an ostrich Britain with his head in the sand?”
Mr Johnson responded by saying: “There he goes again, Mr Speaker, running this country down.
"We’ve got the highest employment, we’ve got lower unemployment than France, Germany, Italy, Canada. We’ve got the highest number of people in payroll jobs.
“Just in the first five months of this year this country has attracted I think £16 billion of investment in its tech sector, three times as much as Germany, twice as much as France. He should be talking this country up, not running it down.”
In another topical reference, Sir Keir accused Mr Johnson of “gameplaying” like he was on Love Island.
The Labour leader said: “He says the economy is booming when it’s shrinking. He’s gameplaying so much he thinks he’s on Love Island.
“The trouble is, Prime Minister, that I’m reliably informed that contestants that give the public the ‘ick’ get booted out.”
Mr Johnson replied: “We’re helping people with the cost of living, with £1,200. On July 14 the money will be going into people’s bank accounts. Why can we do that? Because we have the fiscal firepower to do it, because the economy is in a robust shape, with record numbers of people in payroll employment.”
To cheers from his own party, Sir Keir also read out from a “long list” of what Tory MPs think about the Prime Minister.
He added: “This is a document circulated by his backbench, in which they call him the ‘Conservative Corbyn’. Prime Minister, I don’t think that was intended as a compliment.”
Mr Johnson concluded by saying he was taking decisions “on the side of the British people”, and was heckled when he said: “They’re on the side of the people traffickers who would risk people’s lives at sea and we are on the side of people who come here safely and legally.”
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