As expected, the collapse of construction giant Carillion dominated the exchange between the PM and the opposition leader, with Corbyn accusing the Government of “negligence” and urging Mrs May to end the “costly racket” of private companies running services for the public.
Mrs May hit back remarkably well, telling Corbyn a third of government contracts with Carillion were let by the previous Labour administration, adding she wants to provide “good quality public services, delivered at best value to the taxpayer”.
The Labour leader, who has described the collapse of one of the government’s biggest contractors as a “watershed moment”, widened his attack to include other private companies as he pushed Mrs May to end the “costly racket” between the government and some of these private companies.
May cited Labour’s involvement with Carillion before outlining the government’s plan for public services.
She added: “We’re making sure in this case that public services continue to be provided, that workers in those public services are supported and taxpayers are protected.
But what Labour oppose isn’t just a role for private companies in public services – it’s the private sector as a whole.”
May said the vast majority of workers in the country are employed in the private sector but claimed Labour has “turned its back on investment, on growth and on jobs”.
Scroll down for live updates from today’s PMQs
Theresa May and Corbyn go head-to-head over the Carillon collapse
12.49pm: The battle for the Bayeux Tapestry is prompting a scrap between Tory MPs.
Tory MP Huw Merriman asks the PM if the Bayeux Tapestry could visit his constituency, Bexhill and Battle, near where the Battle of Hastings took place.
So constituents can view it and look out on the fields where the Normans gave the Saxons “six of the best”.
May says she “hears the bid he has put in” – and reveals Amber Rudd, the MP for Hastings, has asked for the same!
Watch this space…
12.44pm: DUP MP David Simpson reminds Theresa May that Northern Ireland has been without a government and asks her if she will introduce Direct Rule to restore running of the country, and to introduce a budget.
Theresa May responded by saying the government is “fully committed” to reestablishing the NI Executive, adding it is “imperative” that parties re-engage n discussion to solve the issues.
She said it was the government’s priority to work with the parties to reestablish the devolved government, but we need to make sure Northern Ireland can operate and public services are provided.
12.40pm: Asked about the outcry at the imminent release of serial rapist John Worboys, Theresa May says the case has rightly raised deep concern.
She adds: “The Parole Board is rightly independent BUT the Justice Sec is considering judicial review.”
12.38pm: Dr Lisa Cameron wants the PM to confirm investment in the North for the Northern Powerhouse.
Mrs May was “happy” to confirm she would invest in the Northern Powerhouse, adding £13bn will be spent on transport for the north.
12.34pm: The Tories have taken to Twitter to outline the party’s response to the collapse of Carillion following the dominance of the topic during PMQs:
12.32pm: Tammanjeet Singh Dhesi asks if the PM wants the “stable genius” Trump to get an invite to the Royal Wedding.
May reminded him of the special relationship between the UK and the US, but said it is not up to her to issue invites to the wedding.
12.29pm: SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford asks what advice she’s been offered on the economic impact of leaving the single market.
Without giving a straight answer, the PM highlights slower GDP growth in Scotland than the rest of the UK.
She says her “financial analysis” suggests people are “better off with a Conservative govt than an SNP one”.
The SNP has been leading the charge for the UK to retain its single market membership after Brexit, calling on other opposition parties to join them.
Theresa May successfully bats away Carrilion grilling
12.26pm: Sir Henry Bellingham, he asked Theresa May to look into one of his constituents being killed by a fleeing shoplifter.
He asked the PM to support the case, and make clear the rights of victims should be at the heart of our criminal policy.
Theresa May said he was “absolutely right”, and paid condolences to the family.
She said the Justice Secretary will meet with him to discuss the case.
12.24pm: The PM brings up Chris Williamson, a shadow minister who resigned over calling for some people to pay double council tax.
She says: ”People should know that a vote for Labour is a vote to pay more.”
12.18pm: Corbyn says Carilion was notoriously late with payments. He broadens his attack to other private companies used by the government to run public services, including Virgin and Stagecoach. He says these corporations need to be “shown the door”, urging the PM to “end this costly racket”.
May responds by saying the Labour government is actively working against the private sector, which employs more than half of employees.
She accuses John McDonnell of calling them the enemy and said the Labour party “will always put politics before people”.
12.13pm: In his second question, Corbyn says “unbelievably” the Government were handing contracts to Carillion despite receiving a third profit warning.
He suggests ministers were either trying to keep Carillion afloat or were “just deeply negligent”.
The PM says she is very happy to answer questions when Corbyn asks them but adds: “He didn’t”.
He asks Theresa May to confirm that neither the chief executive nor the shareholders of Carillion will receive a penny more.
She maintains the government is a customer, not the owner, of the construction firm but largely ignores the question.
Jeremy Corbyn blasts Theresa May over the handling of Carillion
12.08pm: Corbyn reveals the government has awarded £2billion worth of contracts to Carillion and asks Theresa May to explain why, even after she received profit warnings.
She responds by saying withdrawing from contracts whenever profit warnings are issued is not a sustainable policy, and says there are other companies ready to step in and take over the contracts.
She turns on the Labour-run Welsh government and other Labour-run city councils who’ve signed contracts with Carillion.
12.05pm: Catherine McKinnell opens, predictably, with concerns about Carillion, particularly the 1,400 apprentices currently concerned about their future.
Theresa May describes the government as a “customer of Carillion”, rather than an owner, but says the government is ensuring services will still be provided.
She sidesteps the questions about whether apprentices will still be paid following Carillion’s collapse.
Could be a difficult lunchtime for the PM…
11.50am: Today’s first question will come from Labour’s Catherine McKinnnell, the Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North.
See below for the other MPs set to ask a question in just a few minutes time…
11.40am: The collapse of Carillion is likely to feature heavily in today’s PMQs, with Jeremy Corbyn expected to seize the opportunity to attack the Government’s handling of the crisis, which has left thousands of jobs at risk.
In case you missed the events of the last few days, here’s a quick reminder:
Construction giant Carillon collapsed into liquidation after last-ditch rescue talks over the weekend failed to resolve the company’s massive debt crisis.
Around 20,000 jobs are at risk after bosses at the stricken firm said they had “no choice but to take steps to enter into compulsory liquidation with immediate effect”.
Carillion has public sector or public-private partnership contracts worth £1.7 billion, including providing school dinners, cleaning and catering at NHS hospitals, construction work on rail projects such as HS2 and maintaining 50,000 Army base homes for the Ministry of Defence.
The group had racked up £900 million of debt and a £590 million pension deficit and saw its share price plunge more than 70 per cent in the past six months after making a string of profit warnings and breaching its financial covenants.