Emily Thornberry’s stock rises (again) after PMQs clash with Damian Green
The shadow foreign secretary was praised for 'deploying a bit of guile'.
The last time she stood in for Jeremy Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions, Emily Thornberry won rave reviews from Westminster hacks.
“Buy shares in Emily Thornberry,” was the verdict of one former Tory special adviser after the shadow foreign secretary impressed onlookers with searching questions and pithy one-liners.
This week Thornberry, who is said to be Len McLuskey's favoured candidate to take over from Jeremy Corbyn, showed that her previous performance was not a one-off.
The shadow home secretary kicked off by congratulating Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – at the same time as mocking Theresa May and Donald Trump. “That is one Anglo-American couple we on this side will be delighted to see holding hands,” she joshed.
With her opponent Damian Green still undergoing a Cabinet Office probe into alleged inappropriate behaviour, Thornberry appeared to go for the jugular when she asked: "Is he happy to be held to the same standards in government that he required of others while he was in opposition?"
But it turned out be a cunning ploy to get Green's heart rate up. Having apparently unsettled the first secretary of state, Thornberry then moved seamlessly onto nursing morale before hitting Green with minutes from an NHS trust in his own constituency.
After the clash, Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman declared: “Buy more shares in Emily Thornberry. Good jokes, awkward questions, not always brilliant delivery but she's better than either of the usual participants in PMQs.”
Similarly The Guardian’s Andrew Sparrow advised: “Buy shares in Thornberry for next Labour leader. In fact, stock up on as many Thornberrys as you can get.”
He added: “Thornberry showed how much more dangerous by deploying a bit of guile.”