PMQs summary (Wed 6th Mar, 2019)
The verdict on who won PMQs today, like always, was difficult to determine. After announcing a Cobra meeting on knife crime, discussion centred primarily around the government’s record on violent crime and police funding. Later in the session, backbenchers raised several questions relating to Brexit.
Prime Minister Theresa May began the session by laying out her general approach to tackling knife crime, which she emphasised requires addressing multiple factors.
In doing so, she announced a Cobra knife crime summit “in the coming days." Alongside this, the government's discussions will include “ministers, community leaders, agencies and others,” as well as the victims of these crimes.
Corbyn began by asking the prime minister “what extra funding is being provided” to address the root causes of knife crime and the “increasing level of violent crime” in towns and cities across the country. Here he expressed his belief that the government is not doing enough in this regard.
Dissatisfied with her response, he went on to quote leading figures in the police such as the chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, Sara Thornton, who said “we need much stronger leadership from government … and more funding.” He also cited the Metropolitan Police Commission, who concluded that there was indeed a link between decreased police numbers and increased violent crime.
May responded by also quoting the Met Police Commission, saying that arrests alone will not solve the issue. Instead, she added, the problem is “complex” and requires attention in many areas of society. In this respect, she stated that it’s important that we "[understand] the different use and misuse of drugs that is fuelling a lot of this crime.”
May also defended her government’s record on police funding, stating that around £460 million will be given to the police this year, with nearly a billion more due next year.
She concluded the debate with Corbyn by saying that, in the event of Labour coming to power, public services like the police would be under even more strain as a result of an unhealthy economy caused by excessive borrowing.
Much of the remainder of the session concerned Brexit, which can followed on our Twitter thread by clicking here.