Rishi Sunak will be facing off against leader of the opposition Keir Starmer during today’s PMQs in the House of Commons.
There will be a lot on the agenda, as usual, with domestic and international issues set to be discussed. Internationally, the threat of China will likely be a talking point, after the Prime Minister said that the “golden era” of UK-Chinese relations is “over” and criticised the country’s human rights abuses.
On home soil, strikes remain an issue, with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) just yesterday (29 November) announcing that up to 100,000 nurses at 76 hospitals and trusts will be striking in the first walkout in NHS history. The government has said that the pay rise the RCN has asked for is “unaffordable” during the cost of living crisis, but Labour has slammed this stance - so Starmer will probably take the topic to the Prime Minister himself.
Elsewhere, the Prime Minister has been facing a growing rebellion from his own backbench MPs – including former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss - over the UK’s effective ban on onshore wind. An amendment to the Levelling Up bill, tabled by ex-Levelling Up Secretary Simon Clarke, has asked for wind farms to be allowed in rural areas where there is local consent. It has received backing from the Labour Party, so Sunak will be forced to address this too.
With all this and more likely to be on the table today (30 November), keep reading to find out when PMQs starts - and how you can watch the face-off between Sunak and Starmer in the House of Commons.
What is PMQs?
Prime Minister’s Questions, or PMQs, is a half hour session in the House of Commons where MPs are able to ask the Prime Minister questions on government policy and political issues. It offers an opportunity to scrutinise the government and hold those in positions of authority to account.
The session normally starts with a routine question from an MP about the Prime Minister’s engagements, which is then followed by questions from the leader of the opposition party, in this case Sir Keir Starmer of the Labour Party. He is the only MP who is able to ask multiple questions, and it means that he and the Prime Minister, in this case Rishi Sunak, will engage in a relatively lengthy debate.
Once this is over, the floor is opened to the rest of the Commons, where MPs can ask more specific questions about their constituencies.
What time is PMQs?
PMQs will take place today at its usual time of midday (12pm) and will last for about half an hour. A session takes place every Wednesday while Parliament is sitting.
How can I watch PMQs?
We’ll be streaming the session live from our site, so come back to this webpage - or head over to NationalWorld TV - if you want to catch the action.
The head-to-head between the government and the opposition is also broadcast weekly on BBC News, Sky News, and the UK Parliament’s YouTube channel.
What can I expect?
The ban on onshore wind farms will be a big topic of conversation, and there are predictions that Sunak will U-turn on his original stance - especially amidst efforts to secure the UK’s energy independence as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has squeezed supplies. This would appease his backbenchers, and the opposition, but deal another blow to his already unstable authority.
Meanwhile, Starmer may receive some criticism of his own after his recent comments on immigration and Brexit. The Holborn and St Pancras MP has been slammed by members of his own party for a U-turn on his position on freedom of movement within the EU, as during the Labour leadership election in 2020, he voiced support for this. Sunak will likely use this to his advantage when he retaliates to Starmer’s questions.
As usual, Sunak will probably face questions on the economy and the upcoming winter - as fears of a recession and the possibility of scheduled blackouts continue to be discussed.