THE deputy speaker had to call for calm in the Commons after SNP group leader Stephen Flynn took aim at the “Thatcherite” Tory and Labour leaders at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs).

Flynn, speaking on the one-year anniversary of his becoming SNP Westminster leader, hinted at comments made by Labour’s Keir Starmer over the weekend which saw him praise Margaret Thatcher for bringing “meaningful change” and looking to “drag Britain out of its stupor by setting loose our natural entrepreneurialism”.

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Asking his first question of Rishi Sunak, the leader said: “Is the Prime Minister worried that he is projected to be the first Conservative Party leader to lose a General Election to a fellow Thatcherite?”

The following jeers from the opposition benches led the speaker to call for calm, telling MPs: “We really must hear the prime minister, and we've got a lot of questions to get through.”

Sunak eventually responded: “Margaret Thatcher's view was, cut inflation, then cut taxes, and then win an election, and that's very much my plan.”

The Tories had already mocked Starmer’s praise for Thatcher, with one MP welcoming a new “fanboy” of the Conservative former prime minister.

In his follow-up question, Flynn said it was “not just in relation to Margaret Thatcher where the Tory and Labour leader appear to agree”.

He went on: “The same is true of the government's latest migration policies.

“Now, for those of us on these benches, we aren't afraid to say that we believe migration is a good thing, it enriches our communities, it enriches our economy, it enriches our universities, our schools, our health service and of course, our care sector.

“So in that regard, can I ask the Prime Minister, why does he think it is acceptable to ask people to come to these shores to care for our family members whilst we show complete disregard for theirs? What has become of this place?”

The reference was to new Tory visa rules which mean people across the UK could see foreign partners told to leave the country the next time their visa comes up for renewal if their household does not earn at least £38,700.

According to, the average annual salary for a care worker in London is £25,442.

The National: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons (House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA)

Responding, Sunak (above) said Flynn was “completely wrong”. He went on: “As we've already said, we have a proud track record of welcoming those who are most vulnerable around the world. Over half a million over the past few years, from Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Hong Kong and elsewhere and that's what this country will always do.

“But at the same time, when it comes to economic migration in other forms, it's absolutely right that we take strong action to curb the levels that we have seen because they are simply far too high and place unsustainable pressure on our public services.

“I make no apology for saying that, or indeed saying that it is important that those who come here contribute to our public services.”

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Under UK Government plans unveiled on Monday, those wishing to bring their spouse to the UK will now have to earn £38,700, a significant increase on the current figure of £18,600.

As well as applying to those yet to come to the UK, No 10 confirmed the new higher figure risks affecting those already living here.

Asked if it would apply to partners when they came to renew their visas, No 10 said the change was “not retrospective, but it would apply to renewals in the future”.

At that point, people would then be expected to “meet the visa requirements of the day”.