PMQs: 'What's the point in your Government?' Starmer erupts at Johnson over P&O jobs axe

The Labour leader has hit out at the Prime Minister over the Government's response to P&O workers getting sacked in the UK

Published Last updated

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has erupted in this afternoon's PMQs over Boris Johnson's handling of the P&O workers who were sacked last week.

Sir Keir highlighted the 800 UK workers who were replaced by foreign agency workers and said to the Commons: "If the Prime Minister can't stop that, what's the point in your Government?”

Boris Johnson responded by condemning the "callous behaviour of P&O," saying it appears to him that the company has “broken the law”.

He assured MPs the Government will be “taking action” and encouraging workers to do the same.

Sir Keir said such promises fly in the face of the Government's rejection of the bill he proposed on Monday that would have put an end to fire and rehire.

He asked why P&O workers should take any comfort from Mr Johnson’s “half-arsed bluster and waffle” as he accused the PM of not "having the backbone to act".

The heated debate comes as Peter Hebblethwaite, chief executive of P&O Ferries issues an apology for the mass sacking.

In a statement he said it was “an incredibly difficult decision” but was “the only way to save the business”.

Mr Hebblethwaite added that he understood the “anger and shock” about the loss of jobs.

Boris Johnson in today's PMQs
Boris Johnson in today's PMQs
GB News poll results
GB News poll results

Further into PMQs, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford urged the Prime Minister to do everything in his power to help the public amid the looming cost of living crisis.

Mr Blackford said: “The test for the Prime Minister is this, will he scrap the NI hike to put more money into people’s pockets or will it continue this Tory poverty pandemic?"

The plea comes in the moments before the Chancellor makes his Spring Statement announcement to the House of Commons.

Mr Sunak is expected to set out a host of tax cuts and freezes that will help Brits cope with soaring inflation and energy bills exacerbated by the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

In his address, Sir Keir particularly urged him to consider making a U-turn on the National Insurance hike set to take effect in April.

He has consistently asked the tax raid to be scrapped or at least have the threshold raised for when the payments are made in order to protect low income families.

If the increase goes ahead, It's predicted it could cost the average worker £250 a year.

An exclusive poll ran by GB News on March 18 via Twitter, shows unpopularity towards the policy that would see a 1.25 percentage point hike in the tax.

84.4 percent of voters said the hike is not fair, and therefore should not be maintained.

Of 1,490 respondents, 15.6 percent felt the rise should be maintained, representing a minority group of voters.

Both the Chancellor and Boris Johnson have previously insisted the tax raid would go ahead as it was required to fund health and social care, despite public and opposition party concerns.