NEWS

First Prime Minister's Questions Appearances From Leaders, From Tony Blair To Jeremy Corbyn

Theresa May was widely-praised for her PMQs debut.

20/07/2016 12:42 | Updated 20 July 2016

Theresa May attended her first Prime Minster’s Questions (PMQs) as the new British premier on Wednesday and used the opportunity to mock Jeremy Corbyn for the divisions within the Labour party.

PMQs presents a chance for the Prime Minister to be grilled by members of the opposition and even MPs from their own party.

The tradition has evolved over the years from two 15-minute sessions held on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to one 30-minute session held on Wednesdays.

While May’s debut as Prime Minister was widely-praised on Wednesday, not every leader’s first appearance has gone quite so well.

We take a look at leaders’ debuts at PMQs, ranging from Tony Blair in 1994 to Jeremy Corbyn in 2015. 

Tony Blair’s first PMQs as Labour leader, 1994:

The new Labour leader faced then Prime Minister John Major during his first appearance at PMQs.

Blair used his first PMQs to attack the divisions within the Tory party over Europe and challenged Major over whether there would be a referendum on Britain joining the single currency.

William Hague’s first PMQs as Conservative leader, June 1997:

William Hague challenged Blair about reports that a Labour MP would be threatened with expulsion from the Labour party if he campaign against plans for a Welsh Assembly. 

Iain Duncan Smith’s first PMQs as Conservative leader, October 2001:

Iain Duncan Smith’s debut at PMQs took place weeks after the 9/11 attacks.

The new Tory leader began by urging Blair to continue to back military action against the Taliban. He later challenged the Prime Minister’s proposed NHS reforms.

Michael Howard’s first PMQs as Conservative leader, December 2003:

Michael Howard accused Blair of running a wasteful government during his first appearance at PMQs.

May, then Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, was sat next to Howard on the front bench during his PMQs debut.

David Cameron’s first PMQs as Conservative leader, December 2005:

December 2005 saw Cameron take part in his first ever PMQs, going head-to-head with Labour leader Blair.

Cameron began by tackling Labour’s education reforms and urged schools be allowed to control their own admissions procedures.

The new Tory leader also chastised the Labour party’s chief whip Hilary Armstrong for “shouting like a child”.

Gordon Brown’s first PMQs as Labour leader, July 2007:

Gordon Brown’s first appearance chairing PMQs was dominated by security issues as it took place just days after attempted suicide bombings in London and Glasgow.

Brown clashed with Cameron over the banning of terrorist groups and the need for identity cards.

Ed Miliband’s first PMQs as Labour leader, October 2010:

Ed Miliband began his PMQs debut by paying tribute to soldiers who had been killed in Afghanistan.

Benefits soon became the focus of the Labour leader’s attention, who quizzed David Cameron on the changes to child benefits.

Jeremy Corbyn’s first PMQs as Labour leader, September 2015:

Jeremy Corbyn used his first PMQs to criticise the session for traditionally being “too theatrical”.

He then proceeded to read out questions put to the Prime Minister by members of the public, thousands of whom had emailed their requests to the new leader of the Opposition.

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