Chuka Umunna becomes the first MP ever to enhance his reputation by storming out of a live TV interview

Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna stormed off Sky News yesterday after a weird grilling from anchor Dermot Murnaghan.

Umunna was invited on the programme to discuss David Cameron’s speech about the economy in an otherwise straightforward interview.

However, towards the end of the discussion, Murnaghan tried to squeeze a comment from the MP about a letter which Communities Secretary Eric Pickles sent to Muslim leaders in Britain asking them to condemn extremism.

British Muslims were outraged by the letter, describing it as “patronising”.

Umunna said he didn’t want to comment as he had not read the letter but Murnaghan but repeatedly interrupted him, pressing the London MP for an answer

Murnaghan said: “Do you wanna come back in half an hour’s time - I mean it doesn’t take long to read the letter - and then we’ll have this discussion?”

To which Umunna replied: “Dermot, I think you’re being a bit ridiculous right now.

“Your viewers can form their own views.”

He explained he hadn’t been told he was going to be asked about the subject and hadn’t been given chance to adequately prepare. This is often an approach taken on live TV interviews in the hope of catching the subject off-guard and getting a more honest and less-rehearsed approach. It doesn’t really work when you’re asking questions about a letter the person hasn’t read though.

“I don’t think you’re being terribly fair,” Umunna said.

“So you’re not going to speak until you get the party line right?” Murnaghan said.

Ummuna can be seen in the video sighing, waving his hands and yanking off his microphone, before the camera cuts back to Murnaghan’s smug face.

Here’s the clip:

Among Twitter, which generally doesn’t harbour a lot of sympathies for politicians, the general consensus on Umunna’s exit was “I don’t blame him”.

 

There’s grilling MPs for the sake of democracy and then there’s running out of questions live on air with time on the clock to fill. We think this might be a case of the latter.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Have I clicked onto a Guardian article by mistake?

    What is it with the extreme Leftist bent of London Loves Business? The student-level, one-sided reporting on issues around this subject?

    He dodged a perfectly reasonable question. He didn't know the party line. And he did think it was patronizing, obviously. And that intense scrutiny of his position would reveal it hinges on nothing more than pig-headed adherence to the pernicious dogma of political correctness and nothing else.

    It's a question that would make any Leftist, whose biggest issue right-now is attempting to turn any criticism of the Islamic community into being seen as the same treatment the Nazi's dealt the Jews, squirm and wish to avoid.

    This guy's standing went up amongst the usual suspects only. To most people unencumbered by such political naivety he is just another politician who's afraid to be honest and genuine, and has to be media-trained to within an inch of his life before he gets on camera, lest he utter a thought that is 'incorrect' and 'not allowed'.

    What an awful state of affairs.

    Plus Dermot had already terminated the interview.

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