“OK, BYE”: This Tory minister really doesn’t want to talk about the scallop wars

Harriett Baldwin MP hung up on a live interview when confronted with the fishing scandal.


Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

Have you heard about the Great Scallop Wars of 2018? French and British fishing boats are clashing in the Channel off the coast of Normandy over the shellfish. The confrontations have reportedly involved damaged windows, throwing rocks and metal shackles – with British vessels being chased away, and France set to send more police boats.

Well if that sounds stressful, just wait to until you hear the reaction of foreign office and international development minister Harriett Baldwin when she was asked about it on live radio.

In a down-the-line interview, BBC Radio 5 Live’s Anna Foster asked the minister about the scallop wars, specifically about whether the UK government would provide protection for British fishing boats in the area.

To which a flustered Baldwin replied: “Errm, well, I think that, in terms of the UK fishing industry, obviously very important, to the UK, and the government stands ready to help and I’m sure you’ll want to have someone on from Defra later on to talk about that. So, thanks, Anna, I’ve got to run now…”

Foster: “I’m sure we will but…”

Baldwin: “OK, alright…”

Foster: “Is it something the government will be looking at..?”

Baldwin: “BYE.”

Listen to the masterful exit here, in a clip captured by The Times’ Matt Chorley.

I'm a mole, innit.