Thursday, May 31, 2018

"Alright, I'll rephrase the question. Can I ... no, actually, I'll just repeat the question"

Richard Madeley has long been a real-life Alan Partridge, so his abrupt curtailing of an interview with Tory minister Gavin Williamson on Good Morning Britain only served to underline it. So too did the self-congratulatory opinion piece about the run-in that he subsequently wrote for the Guardian: "I've had an overwhelmingly positive response to my snap decision to unceremoniously boot the defence secretary off air; in the news media, social media and on the street. I think it's the most popular thing I've ever done on TV". He might as well have added "Needless to say, I had the last laugh".

And yet the fact remains that Madeley does arguably have a valid point. While interviewers can sometimes come across as overly aggressive and bullying, they do also have a right to challenge those who persistently and deliberately attempt to evade taking responsibility for their words and actions. Madeley isn't the first person who comes to mind when you think of heavyweight interrogators holding politicians to account, but he showed more backbone than many would in refusing to stand for Williamson's obfuscation - even if it was at least partially a case of egotistical grandstanding on his part.

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