Sketch: PMQs a drab day of denial from Government scared of what it wants

The cost-of-living crisis is real and so severe a term I’d never heard before is now said in Parliament basically every other sentence.

People are struggling to pay bills and it’s going to get worse as energy costs soar.

Sir Keir Starmer knows this, as does Boris Johnson, but the consensus is being ignored for the sake of politics.

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The Labour leader confronted the Prime Minister over costs on Wednesday, urging him to support an energy windfall tax.

Mr Johnson we know is open to the idea, and many of his own MPs abstained rather than vote against a motion on the issue on Tuesday night.

Despite this and the severity of the crisis, when given a chance to provide clarity, Mr Johnson instead chose to accuse Sir Keir of not being able to define what a woman is.

Ignoring the weaponising of trans people’s existence for the moment, what on earth does this have to do with the windfall tax?

It was as if he’d opened an exam paper, realised he knew none of the answers and instead decided to demand the invigilators apologise for asking.

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Instead of having a different view and arguing it, Mr Johnson went on the attack.

Tory MPs naturally cheered the retort, but in a whimper ending so quickly it was if they realised what he’d said only after they’d begun cheering.

And this was not an isolated incident, with Mr Johnson then accusing Labour of always raising taxes.

It is debate by catchphrase, discussion through retort, with the call and response being like two people having different conversations.

That his Government last year raised taxes by a higher amount than any other government in almost three decades was irrelevant, because this is not a real conversation, it’s just a game.

Inflation has skyrocketed, so have prices. Opposition parties are crying out for an emergency budget.

Ian Blackford, never knowingly understated, urged Mr Johnson to think again, pointing to the mixed messages coming from the Treasury and Downing Street.

The Prime Minister responded by listing measures he’s already admitted don’t go far enough, and MPs might have been left wondering what, if anything, this Government actually wants.

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