This is the extraordinary moment a rogue fire alarm test disrupted PMQs and finally gave Theresa May something to laugh about amid Westminster’s Brexit gloom.
A siren rang out in the Commons today as Tory MP Antoinette Sandbach addressed Mrs May, who was seen giggling with Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd and Sajid Javid.
Mrs Sandbach was forced to stop speaking about bereavement care – and MPs looked ready to be evacuated – as the alarm blared and a recorded message declared: ‘May I have your attention please? The test is now complete’.
Amid roars of laughter, including from the PM, Speaker John Bercow then joked that Ms Sandbach had ‘indeed passed the test’.
The Tory MP then tried to praise Mrs May by saying the same thing, raising a smile from the under-fire Tory leader, and she tweeted afterwards: ‘The bereavement care pathway passed its assessment with flying colours and not even the fire alarm test could put a dampner on it’.
This is the moments Tories including Theresa May, in red at the bottom of the image, couldn’t stop laughing when a rogue fire alarm went off as Antoinette Sandbach spoke
Speaker John Bercow then joked that Ms Sandbach had ‘indeed passed the test’ as PMQs was disrupted
The incident came as Mrs May used PMQs to beg voters not to desert the Tories for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party as yet another of her own backbenchers demanded her resignation.
The Prime Minister is under growing pressure to quit as the Conservatives face finishing fifth in the European elections on May 23 with opinion polls putting them up to 18 points behind Mr Farage’s party.
In the Commons this afternoon, Mrs May told MPs: ‘If people want to vote for a party that not only is a Brexit party but also is a party in government that can deliver Brexit, they should vote Conservative’.
In a fiery PMQs, disturbed briefly when a mystery fire alarm went off, Tory backbencher Peter Bone also brandished a letter from ‘loyal’ local members calling on her to resign today over her failure to deliver Brexit.
Mrs May replied: ‘If everybody in the House of Commons voted alongside the Government and the majority of the Conservative party, we would have already left the EU’.
Theresa May today insisted the Tories are the only party who can take Britain out of the EU in a swipe at the Brexit Party
Nigel Farage’s new party is filling the vacuum left by the Tories for failing to deliver Brexit as they promised
A new GMB poll found that 30 per cent of people intend to vote for the Brexit Party on May 23 – way ahead of the Tories and leading Labour too
The UK’s Brexit deal with the EU is ‘dead’ if MPs fail to back it in a crucial make-or-break vote next month, the Brexit Secretary admitted today.
Liz Hurley on Farage: ‘I dream about you Nigel!’
The claim about the supermodel, 53, was made by ‘friends’ of Mr Farage, 59, as he revealed a new clean-living regime with pints swapped for red wine while he campaigns around Britain.
His lifestyle change came in the wake of this 2010 plane crash and heavy drinking in previous elections – combined with a more professional American-style approach to politics – and he believes it has helped his anti-EU movement surge in the polls.
Today a new survey for Good Morning Britain found that 30 per cent of people intend to vote for the Brexit Party in the May 23 European elections, with the Tories far behind on 12 per cent and Labour on 24 per cent.
And while Mr Farage campaigns around the nation – landing in Wales today – a source told the Telegraph that ‘women are queuing up to meet him’.
The source added: ‘Nigel said that Liz Hurley once told him at a party: ‘I dream about you Nigel!’ Women are just sort of drawn to him – but then so are men’.
The supermodel is a known Brexiteer having already backed the campaign to leave the EU by stripping off on the eve of polling day in 2016 declaring: ‘No whinging from the losers’.
Steve Barclay said that failure to pass the Withdrawal Agreement Bill [WAB] in June would leave Parliament facing a choice between a No Deal Brexit or not leaving at all.
His admission to the Lords’ EU Committee this morning came as Tory Brexiteers and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) lined up to attack Theresa May’s last-gasp plan to ram a Brexit deal through.
Mr Barclay said: ‘I think if the House of Commons does not approve the WAB then the Barnier deal is dead in that form and I think the House will have to then address a much more fundamental question between whether it will pursue… a no-deal option or whether it will revoke.’
In the Commons the Government was accused of being ‘in the pockets of an elite few’ by Jeremy Corbyn as he revealed ‘in the last two years nine of the richest hedge fund tycoons have donated £2.9 million to the Conservative Party’.
Theresa May hit back at Prime Minister’s Questions, saying that ‘income inequality is down since 2010’ when the Tories came into office, adding her party ‘want everyone to be better off, everyone to have good jobs and everyone to have a better life’.
But the Labour leader said the Nobel Prize-winning economist Sir Angus Deaton had said the UK ‘risks having extreme inequality levels of pay, wealth and health’, asking: ‘Is that something the Prime Minister is proud of?’
Mrs May replied that the ‘top 1% are contributing more income tax than at any point under the last Labour government’.
The PMQs session began in slightly farcical fashion as Mr Corbyn apologised for starting a ‘parliamentary sing-along’ after quoting the entertainer Doris Day, who died this week.
He said it was ‘only right’ the House pays tribute to a ‘leading Hollywood icon and animal rights activist’, adding: ‘I’m tempted to quote some Doris Day songs but I won’t.’
Tory MP peter Bone brandished a letter from Northamptonshire activists demanding Mrs May quits immediately over Brexit
But after encouragement from the backbenches he recited a line in the song The Deadwood Stage from the film Calamity Jane, saying: ‘Alright, whip-crack away!’
As the noise levels rose in the chamber, the Labour leader added: ‘I do apologise Mr Speaker, I’ve obviously started a parliamentary sing-along here.’
Jeremy Corbyn sparked a Commons singalong as he and Mrs May paid tribute to Doris Day
In response Mrs May said she also wanted to mark the ‘sad passing of someone who gave us many hours of entertainment through her films and career, Doris Day’.
Mr Corbyn later urged Mrs May to restore the link between inflation and social security to ‘try to reduce the disgraceful levels of child poverty’ in the country.
In his concluding remarks, the Labour leader said: ‘When the wealth of the richest 1,000 people in Britain has increased by £50 billion in one year but there’s not enough money to properly feed our children or pay workers a decent wage, then we have failed as a society.
‘This country is seeing the rich get richer while the poor get poorer, while the Government is in the pockets of a super-rich elite.
‘More children in poverty, more pensioners in poverty, more people struggling to make ends meet – when is she and her Government going to reverse the tax giveaways to the super-rich and make sure they pay their fair share of taxes so we can end the scandal of inequality in modern Britain?’
Mrs May said the top 1% are paying more in income tax than they did under a Labour government, adding: ‘The Labour Party has a plan for a system where everybody in this country would get benefits.
‘That means handouts to hedge fund managers paid for by tax hikes on working people. Labour’s policy: money for the rich paid by taxes on the poor.’