Prime Minister’s questions (PMQs) got a ‘whooo!’ of surprise today when Jeremy Corbyn was speaking at the dispatch box.
A ‘whooo!’ of surprise is a collective expression of surprise by members in the audience at something which has been said. Cobyn was asking questions to the Prime Minister when something caught his eye on the opposition benches. Peering out from just above his glasses, he repeated his words in line 02 and then again but with emphasis and elongation in 03. This generated a whooo! of surprise from the members opposite. At this point, Corbyn prolonged his stare and signalled with his eyebrows before continuing after a 5 second delay.
Jeremy Corbyn: ... 01 in the last year (0.4)((glances at opposition benches)) 02 in the last year the (0.5) ((glances at opposition benches)) 03 in the last yea:r the ((glances and signals at opposition benches)) 04 ((whoooo)) ((go on Jeremy)) 05 (5.0) ((stares at opposition benches)) 06 thank you mister speaker (0.4) 07 in the last year 08 the education secretary ...
Corbyn has often been noted for his stare at PMQs which he often displays as a sign of dismay at heckling and barraging from opposition benches, although of late his performance has avoided overusing this.
The whooo! is a well known chamber technique used by members to show their surprise at what has just been said.
PMQs, 10th October 2018 (about 12:10pm)