James Cleverly And Richard Madeley In Cracking Row Over Government's Response To Soaring Bills

·3 min read
Richard Madeley accused James Cleverly of dodging his questions (Photo: Good Morning Britain)
Richard Madeley accused James Cleverly of dodging his questions (Photo: Good Morning Britain)

Richard Madeley accused James Cleverly of dodging his questions (Photo: Good Morning Britain)

Education secretary James Cleverly has clashed with Richard Madeley over the government’s response to the cost of living crisis.

The pair locked horns during a heated interview on Good Morning Britain.

Madeley asked why the government could not act straight away to help people struggling to make ends meet as energy bills are tipped to hit £4,200 a year from January.

Cleverly said Liz Truss - who he is backing for the Tory leadership - has pledged to hold an emergency budget next month if she becomes prime minister.

That prompted Madeley to tell him: “You keep sliding off the point.”

A frustrated Cleverly replied: “I’m not sliding off the point, I’m not able to get to the point Richard because you keep interrupting me.”

The presenter hit back: “Oh that’s not fair.”

Cleverly then responded: “It is fair, we can re-watch the tape and we can see which of us has done the most talking in this interview, and the reason I come on …”

Interrupting the cabinet minister, Madeley said: “We’re trying to hold you to an answer and if you’re not answering the question, you will be interrupted.

“I’m sorry if that’s too hard for you but that’s how it works. And I will repeat the point - everything you’ve said in this interview, whether it’s been a completed sentence or an interrupted one, has made it quite clear there is nothing is going to happen until the autumn.

“The central point of this interview is to put it to you that we need action now, and I haven’t heard you say anything at all other than ‘oh well we’ll get to that in the autumn when we have a winner’. You’simply not answering that point, so we do have to interrupt.”

Cleverly then hit back: “Richard, the candidates cannot put their plans into practice until they are prime minister.

“That is the system that we have got and Liz has said that she will lift the green levies, that will take the best part of £200 off the average set of bills. She has also said she will not bring in that national insurance increase - for a family with two working people that will be the best part of £500. And in addition to that, she will also be bringing forward an emergency budget.”

As the interview drew to a close, Madeley then rounded on Boris Johnson for refusing to intervene.

He told Cleverly “He’s a prime minister without power, you’re saying that we have to wait for this leadership thing to play out, and you’re saying that it isn’t possible for parliament to be recalled for an emergency debate on an emergency budget ands you’’re saying that you don’t think it’s a possibility that the two leaders in waiting get together with the prime minister today to make some special decisions today. That’s off the table - nothing’s going to happen until September.”

The minister replied: “I don’’t agree with that assessment Richard.”

Cleverly later told Sky News that the PM and chancellor Nadhim Zahawi “have hauled” energy bosses to find out what they plan to do with the “unexpected, unplanned, unprecedented” profits they are making because of soaring wholesale gas prices.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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