Boris Johnson praises Jeremy Corbyn during their final exchanges at PMQs

Boris Johnson praised Jeremy Corbyn’s “determination to build a better society” as he led the tributes to the outgoing UK Labour leader.

The pair came head-to-head at the despatch box during Prime Minister’s Questions for the final time, with Mr Corbyn set to leave his role next month.

Mr Corbyn joked the British Prime Minister’s remarks were “some kind of obituary” before stressing he will continue his campaign work, noting: “My voice will not be stilled.”

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Keir Starmer are the three remaining candidates seeking to replace Mr Corbyn as Labour leader.

Speaking at PMQs, Mr Johnson said: “Perhaps I could begin by pointing out that this is the honourable gentleman’s last Prime Minister’s Questions and it would be appropriate for me to pay tribute to him, his service to the party and indeed the country over the last four years in a very difficult job.

“We may not agree on everything but no-one can doubt his sincerity and determination to build a better society.”

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Boris Johnson and Mr Corbyn face each other across the despatch box for the last time (House of Commons/PA)</figcaption>
Boris Johnson and Mr Corbyn face each other across the despatch box for the last time (House of Commons/PA)

The Conservative Party leader also thanked Mr Corbyn and Opposition MPs for working across party lines on the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Corybn said in reply: “I thank the Prime Minister for his very kind remarks.

“He was talking as if it was some kind of obituary.

“To let him know – my voice will not be stilled, I will be around, I will be campaigning, I will be arguing and demanding justice for the people of this country, and indeed the rest of the world.”

Shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz later said: “I want to pay tribute to the Leader of the Opposition and thank him for all his work and particularly his family and his staff.

“They’ve worked very hard, but he must have done something right, Mr Speaker, because he’s seen off two prime ministers.”

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg described Mr Corbyn as a “very committed parliamentarian”.

He said: “I’m delighted to see that the Leader of the Opposition is back in his place, so I too may pay tribute to him.

“I perhaps have a particular admiration for him which may surprise him because – it already has, he says – when I was first elected to parliament, there was a distinguished figure who sat at the far end of the Opposition benches, was in parliament the whole time, spoke very regularly and was a very, very committed parliamentarian and then he became leader of his party.”

He joked: “As a new MP, I sat on the far side of my own benches observing affairs and though I do not have the level of ambition of (him), I too ended on the front benches, so it seems that those corners are good ones to sit in.”

Mr Rees-Mogg went on: “Those of us who sit in those far reaches of the House are often very independent-minded and have a great commitment to public service, which (he) unquestionably has, and strong principles about how we think this country may be better governed.”

He added: “I think the model he has shown of how a backbench member may make an enormous contribution over many years and may then lead his party with distinction is one that should be remembered.

“Principles in politics are fundamental to how we do what we do and how we achieve it. So this is a most sincere tribute to (him).

“And I note from what he said to the PM earlier that this is not retirement, it is merely moving to a different part of the frontbench in a few weeks’ time.”

Most Read in World