Jeremy Corbyn claimed Theresa May is unable to answer questions and mocked simmering Cabinet Brexit tensions in the pair's latest Commons clash.

Prime Minister Mrs May said she believed the Labour leader had "done a first" in the chamber after Mr Corbyn welcomed the latest fall in unemployment before he warned that real wages are lower today than 10 years ago.

Mr Corbyn countered: "I wonder if the Prime Minister could do a first and answer a question."

Loading article content

Later, he warned of a "weak economy" even without the risks posed by the Government's "bungled" Brexit talks.

Mr Corbyn, having noticed Home Secretary Amber Rudd was sat in between Chancellor Philip Hammond and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, joked: "It's very interesting the Home Secretary is necessary to keep the two protagonists apart."

Labour MPs also started cheering after Mrs May started her reply with "Yes" in response to Mr Corbyn's call to pause the roll-out of Universal Credit welfare reforms in order to "fix the problems" before pressing ahead with it.

Mrs May added: "Listen to the sentence."

Mocking shouts of "well done" could be heard, with suggestions the PM should sit down.

Mrs May added: "I suggest to honourable members opposite they listen to the whole sentence I was going to make."

Mrs May then confirmed the Government's intention to switch the UC helpline to a freephone number, but defended the wider reforms.

Mr Corbyn opted to cover a range of issues during Prime Minister's Questions including wages, welfare reforms, public sector pay and debt for young people.

He also told MPs: "Under this Prime Minister we have a weak economy. UK growth is currently the worst amongst the 10 largest EU economies.

"We're the only major economy where wages are lower today than they were 10 years ago - even without the risks posed by this Government's bungled Brexit negotiations."

Mr Corbyn then joked about the Government's frontbench seating arrangements before adding: "We now have weak growth, falling productivity, falling investment, falling wages.

"How does the Prime Minister have the nerve to come here and talk about a strong economy when the figures show the exact opposite?"

Mrs May cited the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as stating the UK has the "most efficient accessible healthcare system, fiscal sustainability has improved, important steps are being taken to improve educational outcomes, and jobs and earnings are good".

She said: "That's what OECD says about the strong economy under this Conservative Government.

"The way to get a weak economy is to borrow £500 billion like the Labour Party is proposing.

"The way to get a weak economy is to ensure you are promising spending after spending after spending and people are going to have to pay for that."

Mrs May said there is a need to "deal with the deficit, get our debts down and deal with Labour's great recession which put us into this position in the first place".

mfl