Corbyn brings the common touch to PMQs in debut

Cameron and Corbyn Face Off at PMQs

New Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn used his first session of Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons to deliver some of the 40,000 questions emailed to him by members of the public.

Mr Corbyn told David Cameron that in conversations with voters since his election as Labour leader he had repeatedly been told that they viewed PMQs and Parliament generally as "too theatrical" and "out of touch".

He said he had asked people to send him their suggestions for questions, and said his first came from a woman called Marie, who wanted to know what the PM would do about the "chronic" lack of affordable housing and "extortionate" rents.

Marie was one of 2,500 people who had asked about housing, he said.

Mr Corbyn told MPs that he was "very proud" of the number of people who had engaged in the process of debates and meetings which led to him being elected leader.

Parliament was 'out of touch and too theatrical'

He said that in conversations following his elections "many told me that they thought PMQs was too theatrical, that Parliament was out of touch and too theatrical and they wanted things done differently.

"I thought at my first PMQs, I would do it in a slightly different way ... So I sent out an email to thousands of people and asked them what questions they would like to put to the Prime Minister and I received 40,000 replies."

Mr Corbyn said he was asking a question "from a woman called Marie - 'what does the Government intend to do about the chronic lack of affordable housing and the extortionate rents charged by some private sector landlords in this country'?"

Mr Cameron congratulated Mr Corbyn on his "resounding victory" and welcomed him to the frontbench.

'No one would be more delighted than me'

He added: "I know we will have many strong disagreements I'm sure between us at these exchanges but where we can work together in the national interest we should do so and I wish him well in his job."

Mr Cameron said "no one would be more delighted than me" if PMQs could become a "genuine exercise in asking questions and answering questions".

On the housing question, the Prime Minister the government had delivered 260,000 affordable housing units in the last parliament and had built more council houses than over the course of the 13 years of the last Labour government.

He added: "But I recognise much more needs to be done."

Mr Cameron said more reforms of the planning system and the building industry were needed as well as helping people to get on the housing ladder.

He added: "We won't get Britain building unless we keep our economy going."

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