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27 June 2012

The top five worst political interviews

Chloe Smith had a rough ride on Newsnight last night. Which other politicians have struggled in the spotlight?

By Caroline Crampton

Inspired by Chloe Smith’s Newsnight train wreck last night, here’s our top five worst political interviews.

First up, it’s Ed Miliband condemning the strikes last June. Yes Ed, we all got that you thought they were “wrong”:

Next, here’s Grant Shapps, so-called media machine, on the Today programme trying to avoid questions on house-building numbers by banging on about how he couldn’t be on the programme the day before because he was on a train:

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And now, Australian minister Bill Shorten giving an interview that can be summed up as “I don’t know what the prime minister said, but I’m sure she’s right about it – I have no views of my own”:

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Now, a classic – Michael Howard’s “did you threaten to overrule him?” Newsnight interview:

And finally, Nhlanhla Nene, Chairperson of South African Finance Portfolio Committee, suffers a physical, rather than verbal, mishap during this interview:

Hat tip to Richard Darlington on Twitter (@RDarlo) for the inspiration.

UPDATE 13.10 Judging by the reaction to this, it seems like we made a mistake just limiting ourselves to five terrible political interviews. For your enjoyment, here’s five more.

Francis Maude, Cabinet Office minister and supposed to be a driving force behind the big society, is asked in this interview whether he volunteers himself. “Gosh, golly, that’s a tough question to spring on me,” he replied.

David Cameron, interviewed by the Gay Times, gives a terrible interview performance. In fact, he knew it was so bad, he asked if he could start again:


Another Paxman classic. “When did you decide not to renew the existing legislation?” he asks Hazel Blears, again, and again, and again:

Francis Maude again. This time it’s more about the effect of his words, than the words themselves – his suggestion that people should hoard fuel in jerry cans contributed to a nation-wide fuel shortage:


And finally, defence secretary John Nott eventually gets the last word in this 1982 interview with Robin Day – he walks out of the studio in disgust: