PMQs sketch: Stephen Flynn has good points but no questions, not that Rishi Sunak tried to answer them
It’s not the Prime Minister isn’t listening. He just appears to be phoning in answers like a man well aware he’s got to shoot off and do some Christmas shopping.
Mr Flynn, the Aberdeen South MP, had opened by lauding the Scottish Government coming to an agreement with the Unite and Unison health unions to reach a pay settlement, averting strike action.
This is obviously good news, but the problem is there isn’t really a question arising from it beyond “can you sort yourself out now and say how good we are?”, which is essentially what Mr Flynn asked.
It’s also another open-ended question lacking specifics or a particular soundbite, giving the Prime Minister free reign to make a joke and move on, which is exactly what he did.
Instead suggesting compromise and an end to the strikes would be good, Mr Sunak shared how “glad” he was so much money had been given to Scotland by the UK Government for public services.
That Scotland is entitled to this money was deemed irrelevant when the alternative is a cheap laugh and taking some of the credit.
On energy support, the SNP Westminster leader then warned “people are genuinely terrified” over the cost of their annual energy bills.
Mr Flynn reeled off they were £3,300 in Scotland compared to £2,500 in England, and pointed out how unfair it was when Scotland produces six times more gas than it consumes, with 80 per cent of its electricity coming from low carbon sources.
The bar for PMQs performances is low – so low, in fact, that Mr Flynn can quote these facts so coherently is genuinely impressive, let alone make a good point with them.
Making the point Scotland has energy, but needs more power is clever, but clever doesn’t win PMQs, people not watching do.
It was another open goal for Mr Sunak to just list off UK Government support instead of answering the actual question or engaging with the argument.
Both men spent PMQs saying how good the respective governments were doing, in a debate that felt like two separate press releases.
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