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How MP Rayner fared at PMQs

Ashton-under-Lyne and Failsworth MP Angela Rayner at the despatch box. Image credit: UK Parliament.

Ashton-under-Lyne and Failsworth MP Angela Rayner took on Boris Johnson in the first Prime Minister's Questions of 2022.  

The deputy leader of the Labour Party was standing in for leader Sir Keir Starmer, who has tested positive for coronavirus for a second time and has begun his sixth period in isolation since the pandemic began. 

At the later time of 3pm on Wednesday afternoon (5 January), Ms Rayner quizzed the PM at the despatch box in the House of Commons in London, in the first Prime Minister's Questions session since the Christmas recess.

She kicked things off by offering her condolences to the family of anti-Apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who died recently aged 90, and thanking key workers for keeping essential services running over the festive period.

Ms Rayner then went on to ask the PM about rising inflation and how he plans to "get a grip" on the cost of living. She also urged Mr Johnson to "stand up to his chancellor" and cut VAT on energy bills to "help British families", as well as accusing the PM of "incompetence" - claiming that "it is not about brushing your hair, it is about brushing up your act". 

In response, Mr Johnson listed the support already being offered to ease the financial burdens that households are facing and said that Labour "can't be trusted on the economy". He also claimed that the government is "rectifying" the decisions taken by former Labour governments, adding that "they carp from the sidelines, we get on with the job." 

Mr Johnson jokingly talked up Ms Rayner's prospects of becoming the future Labour Party leader, whilst she responded with a quip that she had "heard on the grapevine there might be a vacancy for prime minister soon". 

You can watch the full exchange here:

How many times has Angela Rayner done PMQs?

It was the fourth time that Ms Rayner has taken part in PMQs.

She became the first ever Tameside MP to be involved in the set-piece event of the Parliamentary week in September 2020 when she faced Mr Johnson.

Ms Rayner then took on Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab in September 2021, which included some lively clashes over cost of living rises.

Her previous appearance was back at the start of November 2021, when she questioned the prime minister on MPs’ standards rules and political corruption, projected tax increases for households over the next five years, and support for servicemen and women and Army veterans.  

What is PMQs?

Prime Minister's Question Time, also referred to as PMQs, takes place every Wednesday the House of Commons sits. It gives MPs the chance to put questions to the Prime Minister.

In most cases, the session starts with a routine 'open question' from an MP about the Prime Minister's engagements. MPs can then ask supplementary questions on any subject, often one of current political significance.

The Leader of the Opposition asks six questions and the leader of the second largest opposition party asks two.

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