Liz Truss accused of ‘avoiding public scrutiny’ after cancelling BBC interview – UK politics live | Politics

Liz Truss accused of ‘running scared’ after pulling out of BBC interview

Good morning and welcome to the UK politics live blog. We will be bringing you all the latest as Westminster continues to react and debate how best to handle the spiralling cost of living crisis.

However, first we begin with the news that Liz Truss has been accused of “running scared” of scrutiny after pulling out of a BBC interview scheduled for Tuesday, meaning she is likely to become prime minister without undergoing a single set-piece broadcast quizzing.

Earlier this month the foreign secretary agreed to a primetime interview with the veteran political journalist Nick Robinson on BBC One, something already done by Rishi Sunak, her rival to succeed Boris Johnson as Conservative party leader.

But a BBC spokesperson said Truss had now cancelled the interview. “Ms Truss’s team say she can no longer spare the time to appear on Our Next Prime Minister,” they said. “We regret that it has not been possible to do an in-depth interview with both candidates despite having reached agreement to do so.”

In a tweet, Robinson said he had been pleased that Truss had agreed to the interview and he was “disappointed and frustrated it’s been cancelled”.

A source in Sunak’s campaign said their tally showed Truss had done just two broadcast interviews of any form during the campaign, whereas Sunak had undertaken nine, also including three spots on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and an appearance on ITV’s This Morning.

The source said:

It’s important that candidates face proper scrutiny so that members and the public know what they are offering. Avoiding that scrutiny suggests either Truss doesn’t have a plan at all or the plan she has falls far short of the challenges we face this winter.

Britain leadership contenders take part in Conservative Party hustings event, in Norwich.
Britain leadership contenders take part in Conservative Party hustings event, in Norwich. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

Wendy Chamberlain, the Liberal Democrats’ chief whip, said:

Liz Truss is running scared of the media and proper public scrutiny. How can she lead our country through an economic crisis when she can’t even cope with a basic media interview?

She wants to follow in Margaret Thatcher’s footsteps but she’s fallen at the first hurdle. She’s fighting for the highest office by answering the lowest number of difficult questions.

Labour also criticised Truss for backing out. Conor McGinn, the shadow minister without portfolio, said:

The British public don’t get a say in choosing the next Tory prime minister and now it seems Liz Truss wants to avoid any public scrutiny whatsoever.

People will rightly conclude that she doesn’t want to answer questions about her plans for the country because she simply hasn’t got any serious answers to the big challenges facing our country.

For more on the story, see my colleague Peter Walker’s write-up here.

Key events

Filters BETA

Meanwhile, Andy Burnham has once again said that he would consider “one day” running for prime minister as Labour leader.

The Greater Manchester mayor said his focus is still on his current job and that he supports Keir Starmer, but will not rule out standing in the future. He said:

Perhaps one day, if that would be something people would support, but not now because we’ve got a leader of the Labour Party who is providing leadership during the cost-of-living crisis and I’m happy to give my full support to Keir.

And I’ve got a job to do in Greater Manchester … and I’m making big changes to public transport, which hopefully will get people through this, and that’s where my full focus is right now.

He added that he would join Mick Lynch and the RMT strikers on a picket line, adding he sees nothing “controversial” about workers fighting for their wages.

Asked on Sky News whether he would share a picket line with the union leader, he said:

I would, you know. I don’t see this as controversial. People are fighting for their incomes in a cost of living crisis. Of course you’ve got to recognise the point that they are making.

Many households to be plunged into ‘financial distress’, say Labour

Labour party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds warned the “massive increase” in the cap on energy bills “will plunge many, many households into financial distress”.

Asked about reports Liz Truss would support oil and gas drilling licences in the North Sea and if that was the answer, Dodds told Times Radio:

No, it’s not and the answer really is to be taking action to get the cost of those bills down.

Labour’s been very consistent on this, we’ve got a fully costed plan that would enable the government to not be going ahead with that massive increase in the cap on energy bills that’s projected to be coming through very, very soon, that will cause – well it’s causing households worry right now, but that will plunge many, many households into financial distress.

On energy security, she added:

We’ve set out plans to make sure that we would be having no more blockages on the delivery of domestic nuclear, we would be sprinting ahead with renewables for example onshore wind.

Dodds also accused the government of “fantasy economics” over the cost of living. She told Times Radio:

We are only ever going to be setting out plans that we have fully costed and I’m afraid right now from the Conservatives we’re just getting fantasy economics.

They’re not saying how they would deliver anything, they keep changing their plans every five minutes; that’s not the case with Labour.

Matt Warman, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport minister who is supporting Rishi Sunak’s leadership campaign, has said “Rishi is still fighting absolutely for every vote” adding the “disruptive” nature of the leadership contest “is deeply regrettable”.

He told Sky News:

You’re seeing him going out and meeting huge numbers of party members right even up to this moment, and I think if you’re going to have a contest, it is sensible to have a contest.

It was widely pointed out before Boris Johnson stood down, how disruptive this process would be. That is deeply regrettable and it’s more true now than ever, but I do think, as I say, less than a week to go, it is what it is right now.

Asked about the length of the leadership contest, Warman added:

I don’t make the rules on how long it’s taken to go through this contest, but I think personally I would have preferred it, had it taken somewhat less time yes.

I think when the party considers what the rules might look like going forward, that will I suspect be something that many people will take an interest in, but that’s not a problem that we can address right now, we’ve got less than a week until the new prime minister is in place.

Liz Truss accused of ‘running scared’ after pulling out of BBC interview

Good morning and welcome to the UK politics live blog. We will be bringing you all the latest as Westminster continues to react and debate how best to handle the spiralling cost of living crisis.

However, first we begin with the news that Liz Truss has been accused of “running scared” of scrutiny after pulling out of a BBC interview scheduled for Tuesday, meaning she is likely to become prime minister without undergoing a single set-piece broadcast quizzing.

Earlier this month the foreign secretary agreed to a primetime interview with the veteran political journalist Nick Robinson on BBC One, something already done by Rishi Sunak, her rival to succeed Boris Johnson as Conservative party leader.

But a BBC spokesperson said Truss had now cancelled the interview. “Ms Truss’s team say she can no longer spare the time to appear on Our Next Prime Minister,” they said. “We regret that it has not been possible to do an in-depth interview with both candidates despite having reached agreement to do so.”

In a tweet, Robinson said he had been pleased that Truss had agreed to the interview and he was “disappointed and frustrated it’s been cancelled”.

A source in Sunak’s campaign said their tally showed Truss had done just two broadcast interviews of any form during the campaign, whereas Sunak had undertaken nine, also including three spots on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and an appearance on ITV’s This Morning.

The source said:

It’s important that candidates face proper scrutiny so that members and the public know what they are offering. Avoiding that scrutiny suggests either Truss doesn’t have a plan at all or the plan she has falls far short of the challenges we face this winter.

Britain leadership contenders take part in Conservative Party hustings event, in Norwich.
Britain leadership contenders take part in Conservative Party hustings event, in Norwich. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

Wendy Chamberlain, the Liberal Democrats’ chief whip, said:

Liz Truss is running scared of the media and proper public scrutiny. How can she lead our country through an economic crisis when she can’t even cope with a basic media interview?

She wants to follow in Margaret Thatcher’s footsteps but she’s fallen at the first hurdle. She’s fighting for the highest office by answering the lowest number of difficult questions.

Labour also criticised Truss for backing out. Conor McGinn, the shadow minister without portfolio, said:

The British public don’t get a say in choosing the next Tory prime minister and now it seems Liz Truss wants to avoid any public scrutiny whatsoever.

People will rightly conclude that she doesn’t want to answer questions about her plans for the country because she simply hasn’t got any serious answers to the big challenges facing our country.

For more on the story, see my colleague Peter Walker’s write-up here.

Leave a Comment