Minister Furiously Attacks BBC Over ‘Pathetic’ Discussion Around Tory Mayor’s Re-Election

Politics Live host Jo Coburn and minister Andrea Leadsom speaking about Ben Houchen’s re-election BBC Politics Live

Minister Andrea Leadsom raged at the BBC while on a BBC program on Friday, criticizing its coverage of a Tory mayor who was just re-elected.

The Politics Live drama began when the BBC’s Deputy political editor Vicki Young pointed out that Ben Houchen had held onto his position despite a general dip in support for the Conservatives.

The show’s host Jo Coburn then noted: “Support for Conservatives in the area in a general election was 21% lower than support recorded for Houchen.

“So this win is down to his personal popularity.”

Leadsom, sat next to Coburn, quickly cut in: “I think that whole little bit of discussion is absolutely pathetic from the BBC.

“He’s won – all you’re saying is he’s had this big swing away from him. No, sorry, I am outrageous.”

“No one is taking away from Houchen,” Coburn replied.

“Yes you are,” the minister hit back. “This is all credit to a mayor who has done an absolutely brilliant job in a key part of the leveling up agenda.

“This is an absolute testament to the Conservative government and its leveling up agenda that has backed Ben Houchen, and it’s absolutely testament to him as a good Conservative, his support for his community in negotiating to win – to apply – for the funding that is in the leveling up programme.”

Coburn said: “Alright, you’ve made your speech.

“But actually, we can show why it’s not down, necessarily, to the Conservative government.”

Coburn then went through several of Houchen’s leaflets and concluded there were no mentions of the Conservative Party and Rishi Sunak.

The host noted: “No one is taking away from his victory, his personal victory, but the evidence, Andrea, is very clear, that it was despite the Conservatives, not necessarily because of them.”

“Are you asserting, Jo, that nobody knew he was a Conservative?” Leadsom said.

Coburn replied: “No, I’m sure they did – and what they said to him was, ‘we’re voting for you’ – as we heard from our North East editor, ‘but we won’t be voting for Conservative. ‘”

“Oh that must be true, then,” Leadsom hit back, sarcastically.