Saturday 24 June 2017

Andrea Leadsom v Emily Maitlis

And here's a transcript of that Newsnight interview:

Emily Maitlis: Andrea Leadsom was one of the most prominent Leave campaigners. She ran for the Conservative leadership you'll remember in the days after last year's referendum, only to be beaten eventually by Theresa May. She's now  the Leader of the House of Commons. And earlier I spoke to her from her constituency in Northamptonshire. I began by asking what she thought of Donald Tusk's allegation that Theresa May's proposal offer risked worsening the situation of EU citizens. 
Andrea Leadsom: I think that in fact what Theresa May made was a very generous offer but equally it's obviously going to be important to the EU Commission that they stick to their side of the negotiations, and you wouldn't really expect them to say, 'Thanks very much, that's wonderful!', so I think we're going to see a lot more of that in the days to come. 
Emily Maitlis: Isn't it funny, though, when you've got Donald Tusk saying it's not good enough, and last night we had the president of the EU parliament telling Newsnight he doesn't have a clue what Britain wants from Brexit. Does that worry you? 
Andrea Leadsom: Not at all. No. As I've said, when you are in a negotiation you don't immediately jump around clapping your hands with glee at the first sign. In fact you do the opposite. You say, 'No, that's not good enough. We need more. We need more'. And that is what you would expect...
Emily Maitlis(interrupting) But this should be quite a simple one, shouldn't it? This should be a pretty simple place to start, and we are a year on, as you've said, from that vote, and they can't agree with the first thing they're trying to talk about. You think it's just politics, do you? 
Andrea Leadsom: Well, Theresa May give her very initial comments to the meeting of the EU Council to explain to them the generous offer that we will be making, which is right that we should do that. We want to do it. And of course EU negotiators will start off by saying, You know, we need to see the detail. It's a good start but...'. You would expect that. I think we're going to see a lot of the negotiations and the handling of negotiations is going to be a challenging time, but we are determined to continue with a good relationship with our EU friends and colleagues. 
Emily Maitlis: We're weaker than ever before. She's gone to the country. She didn't get the mandate she wanted, and she doesn't have a strong position from which to negotiate. That's the blunt truth.
Andrea Leadsom: Well, you know, Theresa May isn't of course satisfied with the majority that we managed to get at the last election, but we are the biggest party in government. It is not just our opportunity but it is also our duty to create a government, to take this country forward, to do everything we can to make a success of leaving the EU. We've done a huge amount of work on preparations for these negotiations. Our hand is very strong. 
Emily Maitlis: You've got a negotiating position which is completely unclear. You're hearing that from the president of the EU Parliament. We've got a political system which is unstable, Many believe our economy is unfair. Living standards are falling. What can you point to now and say, that's going well? 
Andrea Leadsom: European politicians are actually very keen that we keep a strong relationship going forward, and that is what we're going to do. And it's actually the elected politicians who are the important thing here. And...
Emily Maitlis(interrupting) But come on, Miss Leadsom, you haven't even got a deal with the DUP on the table. They're laughing at us and saying they can walk all over whatever she puts up now?Andrea Leadsom: Well, that's blatantly not true, is it? Angela Merkel said it was an interesting start. We had Mark Rutte saying he was quite positive and optimistic about it. We had various different EU politicians, the elected politicians, saying it's a good start. Of course it's very early days, but...

Emily Maitlis(interrupting) It's been a year!
Andrea Leadsom(talking over)  It would be really helpful... 
Emily Maitlis(talking over) It has been a year and these crucial issues...
Andrea Leadsom(talking over) It would be helpful if broadcasters were willing to be a bit patriotic. The country took a decision. This government is determined to deliver... 
Emily Maitlis(interrupting) Sorry, it's unpatriotic?...
Andrea Leadsom(talking over) on that decision...
Emily Maitlis(talking over) Are you accusing me of being unpatriotic for questioning how negotiations are going, questioning whether you have the position of strength that she said she wanted? 
Andrea Leadsom: I'm not accusing you of anything, Emily. I'm simply saying we all need to pull together as a country. We took a decision a year ago today to leave the European Union. 
Emily Maitlis: With this reduced majority...You are now a minority government, but your reading of the public mood is to push on with the same plans for Brexit that you always had. Is that right? Nothing has changed in your mind? 
Andrea Leadsom: As the Prime Minister said, we are leaving the EU. We are not leaving Europe. So our negotiation to deliver a strong deal that works for all of us remains absolutely at the heart of what we are doing...
Emily Maitlis(interrupting) Do you regret that the election was called? 
Andrea Leadsom: ...and it's very going to be important. I don't at all. Of course we don't have the numbers in Parliament. We accept that, and of course we are disappointed about that, but what it means... 
Emily Maitlis(interrupting) You know the whole direction of Brexit is now up in the air.
Andrea Leadsom(talking over) will be a new listening government, and if I can...
Emily Maitlis(talking over) You know that! 
Andrea Leadsom(talking over) If I can just finish?
Emily Maitlis(talking over) After this election...
Andrea Leadsom(talking over) If I can just finish?
Emily Maitlis(talking over) didn't get the Brexit vote that you wanted. You didn't get a huge majority. This was a sign from the country that they are questioning it. 
Andrea Leadsom(interrupting) Over 85% of people voted for parties that were accepting of the result of the referendum last year. What we actually now have is a government that will be listening so carefully across parties, hearing what other parties' ideas are, collaborating with them ever more closely. We'll be working closely with the devolved administrations to try to get this legislation through.
Emily Maitlis: Angela Leadsom, thank you.
Andrea Leadsom: Thank you.


  1. Newsnight viewing figures are not likely to increase as a result of this type of interview. Given the BBC's standard response to Brexit, anyone could have written Maitlis's script for her in advance. It had no depth, and we learnt nothing new. All we saw was the attempt by the BBC to systematically unpick the Brexit negotiations, to the disadvantage of the UK's position.

  2. Maitlis's clear disdain and loathing of Leadsom was on display from the off. Her sneeringly contorted face spoke volumes.
    The 'patriotism' bit was a joy, topped off with the knowing smile at that very badly mannered little Emily.

  3. Many thanks for proving what I always knew...the BBC are biased and getting worse. I have noticed Evan Davis now taking up full negotiations with the EU on behalf of the British People in the latest programmes, please tell me how we stop these people damaging our Country beyond repair..I have now switched channels.IM

  4. The BBC News Channel have been playing a videoclip from this interview all day today. It's drastically reduced to about three lines omitting the impolite confrontational technique that had prompted Andrea L to say what she said. And of course the story as it is presented is all about Emily - apparently outraged that someone might question her loyalty to the UK's negotiating position! If the cap fits, wear it - Emily.

  5. I seriously think some BBC journalists, particularly Kuenssberg and Maitlis, are becoming unhinged as Brexit looms closer; certainly Maitlis's twisted features suggest that her self-control is hanging by a thread and she abandoned any pretence of impartiality a long time ago. A friend of mine once described looking in the mirror when in the throes of a particularly bad hangover and seeing a pair of eyes, like two eggs in a pool of blood - don't know what Maitlis does to achieve a similar result, but she is beginning to look seriously scary. Incidentally, the Daily Telegraph has carried letters complaining of Kuenssberg's rudeness two days running.

  6. I'm certainly the last person on earth to defend Stage Performer Maitlis on any issue of journalistic integrity, but in this case what she's saying is fair enough, more or less throwing the general consensus (right or wrong) back at Leadsom, no?

    Maitlis may very well be the most hardcore of Remainiacs, but it's not incorrect to say "we" (meaning May and the UK) are weak, that May has no real mandate to claim she's representing the voice of Britain, and as the EU mandarins smell blood in the water, she's not dealing from a position of strength.

    Even if, as I suspect, Maitlis believes this is a good thing, and that it should mean that Britain does not leave the EU, or at least lands on the softest imaginable version of Brexit, she's not really incorrect about the status, is she?

    1. What is not fair enough is asking an interviewee a question and then preventing him or her from answering it with a constant barrage of ill-mannered interruptions. So who came out of it better, the snarling harpy or the polite and reasonable Mrs Leadsom?

    2. Performance rating is different from rating the questions, yes.

    3. I'm looking forward to find out Emilys salary. I'm guessing it will be at least double that of Leadsom. Just an overpaid princess battering a democratically elected representative.


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