#PMQs with Christian Today: And they're off...

The battle lines are drawn.

In one of the final Prime Minister's Questions before Parliament dissolves for the general election, both sides of the House of Commons laid out their election pitches.

Theresa May addressed MPs before a bill approving the general election is set to be passed in the House of Commons.ParliamentLive.TV

'Strong countries need strong economies. Strong countries need strong defences. Strong countries need strong leaders,' cried Alberto Costa, Conservative MP for South Leicestershire to open the exchanges.

That will be the key Tory message – strong versus weak leadership. It's an easy play to make.

If they can make it about Theresa May versus Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister there is only going to be one winner.

Given that, it is odd Number 10 have ruled out televised presidential-style debates between the party leaders – a weakness that Corbyn, Angus Robertson and Tim Farron all pressed Theresa May over today.

In a jumbled and confused range of questions, the Labour leader led with the Tory's record on national debt and the economy, then moved onto schools, then back to debt, then onto the NHS and finished with another jibe about television debates.

His strongest line – and the one that looks to be Labour's main election pitch – came near the end of his six allocated questions and focused on 'broken promises': 'Isn't the truth that over the last seven years the Tories have broken every promise on living standards, debt, the deficit, the National Health Service and schools funding?

'Why should anyone belief a word they say over the next seven weeks?'

Minutes later Yvette Cooper added her own hammer blow: 'She wants us to believe she is a woman of her word. Isn't the truth we cannot believe a single word she says?'

So trust versus leadership looks to be the two defining issues Labour and the Conservatives will take to the British people between now and June 8.

In many ways nothing has changed since 2015. Conservatives pitching for competence over chaos with little vision besides that. Labour denouncing 'broken promises' while struggling to shake off their image as irresponsible with the economy. 

Two years of turmoil followed that election. Here's hoping this one will complete the circle.

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