Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth) was given the honour of putting the first question to the Prime Minister Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons today
The gesture by the Labour Party which may possibly indicate some thawing of the frosty relations between Doughty (who resigned as a junior opposition foreign affairs spokesman in January) and his boss, Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn.
Doughty was allowed to ask the customary first – closed – question about the Prime Minister engagements.
Having received the standard-formula answer from the Prime Minister he was then allowed – with the Speaker’s sanction – to put a supplementary question. He rose for the second time to ask a carefully-drafted play-on-words question – but fluffed his lines and didn’t quite hit the bullseye.
He asked “Mr Speaker we have no clarity on access to the Single Market , huge disadvantages still in energy costs and foreign steel being used in our key defence projects . We know that the Prime Minister tries to channel the Iron Lady” [MPs were left to guess what this meant]. “Is she” – he asked – ” going to show some mettle in standing up for British made steel ?”
Mrs May said ” This Government has stood up for British made steel and we have made a number of measures to improve the situation for the steel industry but the honourable gentleman [a.k.a. Doughty] “said there is no clarity in relation to Brexit…. I am very clear that what we want achieve is the best possible deal for businesses in the United Kingdom to trade with, and operate within, the Single European Market “.