Buy shares in Emily Thornberry, say Westminster hacks after PMQs clash
The shadow foreign secretary appeared to enjoy facing Damian Green.
Emily Thornberry’s stock in Westminster went up today after a confident performance standing in for Jeremy Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions.
With Theresa May attending a state visit by King Felipe of Spain, Thornberry faced first secretary Damian Green.
The pair repeatedly clashed over Brexit with Thornberry delivering pithy one-liners - and asking searching questions.
In her final flourish Thornberry took aim at Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson, David Davis and Theresa May.
She said: “I do appreciate all of the first secretary’s answers. But they just serve to illustrate what a mess the Government has got itself into by threatening to walk away even before talks began.
“Isn’t the truth now that we’ve got a no deal option on the table but they won’t tell us what that means... We’ve got a chancellor demanding transitional arrangements which a no deal option makes impossible, we’ve got a foreign secretary making it up as he goes along, we’ve got a Brexit secretary so used to overruling his colleagues that he’s started to overrule himself, and we’ve got a prime minister so bereft of ideas she’s started putting suggestion boxes around Parliament."
Among the pundits applauding Thornberry’s performance was James Chapman, the former Daily Mail political editor-turned-adviser to George Osborne.
Chapman, now a director at Bell Pottinger, advised on Twitter: “Buy shares in Emily Thornberry.”
BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith appeared to agree, stating: "Labour folk might hope T.May away more often so Emily Thornberry gets to do more #pmqs."
Green – who has been described as “May’s human interpreter – was also judged to have put in a strong performance.
“Damian Green will never be PM. But that was an impressive stand-in performance, with wit and style. He is steadying May's ship well,” said The Sun’s political editor Tom Newton Dunn.
But Green was embarrassed when Labour MP Tony Perkins asked why May's photograph had been wiped clean from the party’s website.
He declared: "She has gone from being the next Iron Lady to the lady vanishes!"