Question Time: Fiona Bruce shuts down ‘party political broadcast’
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BBC’s Fiona Bruce scrambled to shut down Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire pitch for Government amid concerns the Question Time programme was slipping into a “party political broadcast”. Ms Bruce abruptly cut off Ms Debbonaire, insisting: “Okay, Thangam, this is turning into a party political broadcast and I think that’s quite enough, thank you.” The remark came as the shadow leader of the Commons praised Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet reshuffle this week.
An audience member Carl McDermott asked: “After the recent reshuffle is the Labour Party now a credible opposition or must they continue to rely on Conservative blunders to make their progress in the polls?”
Ms Debbonaire laughed in response, as Ms Bruce snapped at the MP: “You’re laughing., let’s see if you are still laughing in a minute.”
To the BBC host’s surprise, Lib Dem MP Wendy Chamberlain praised the reshuffle.
Ms Chamberlain said: “As an opposition politician, I do feel like this is a reshuffle that is looking forward positively for the Labour Party. We need to have a credible opposition.”
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Ms Bruce responded: “It’s not often we hear a rival party praise another party’s reshuffle.
“But isn’t a second reshuffle in six months an indication the first one didn’t work?”
The Labour MP said: “I can point to any number of U-turns that my party that I’m proud to be a shadow cabinet member of, has forced the Government into in the last year when it was necessary.
“I think this reshuffle is a sign we reflected and tried it out.
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“Personally, I cannot wait to see Yvette Cooper take on Priti Patel in the dispatch box.
“She is a force of nature, that woman. So too is the entire shadow cabinet. It is a slimmed-down, effective shadow cabinet scrutinising the government.
“We are waiting and eager for Government by working hard.”
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This pitch for Government prompted the BBC Question Time host to intervene, as Ms Bruce said: “Okay, Thangam, this is turning into a party political broadcast and I think that’s quite enough, thank you.”
Viewers hit out at the exchange as @Ian17582266 tweeted that the programme was “nothing but a Labour broadcast”.
Keir Starmer carried out a ruthless overhaul of his team on Tuesday, including bringing back Yvette Cooper to the frontbench as shadow Home Secretary.
The leader’s latest reshuffle was seen as a lurch towards the right of the party.
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