Karen Bradley’s performances as Culture Secretary have mainly been defined by her ability to dodge questions and avoid saying anything of any significance on everything from Rupert Murdoch to the BBC, presumably a trait highly valued by her similarly evasive boss Theresa May.
But whoever decided to put her up on Monday morning as a spokesperson on counter terrorism may have overestimated the tolerance of interviewers, and indeed the public, for those dodging questions about security.
To be fair, it might have been difficult to predict Piers Morgan turning into a budget version of Jeremy Paxman on Good Morning Britain. Again and again he asked Bradley whether the numbers of armed police officers in the UK had gone up or down, and again and again she avoided answering the question. Instead, she talked about “learning lessons”, having the “right capabilities” and why we needed to re-elect May. It may have been on message, but her inability to answer can’t have reflected well on the person she was asking the public to re-elect, a person who also incidentally used to be Bradley’s boss at the Home Office.
Morgan’s frustration led him to a withering “so you simply don’t want to answer?”, rather hitting the nail on the head, because Bradley was clearly trying to avoid admitting that the number of armed specialists in the police fell by by more than 1,300 over the last seven years – years in which May was Home Secretary.
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) June 5, 2017
Bradley then managed to turn a car crash interview into a pile up by repeating her question dodging on Radio 4’s Today programme. It’s little surprise she’s been branded the “Tories’ answer to Diane Abbott”, but at least Abbott tried to answer the question, instead of proving as evasive as a terror suspect with no police left to stop them.