It’s the age-old dilemma for a media advisor when your politician is in a jam. How do you get out of doing an interview you really don’t want to do? Liz Truss’s former spad Kirsty Buchanan gave us an answer to that question to this morning when she revealed to the Whitehall Sources podcast just how her minister used to evade appearances on Question Time back when she was running the Ministry of Justice:
Liz Truss when I worked for her, she obviously didn’t like the media so we used to spend quite a lot of time making up excuses and killing off minor members of her family so that she didn’t have to go on Question Time… we ran out of excuses to go on Question Time so eventually we had to do it. I mean minor people like aunts and cousins and things. I’m not talking about major members of the family.
There’s an easy get-out-of-jail excuse for any member of Truss’s government keen to avoid answering questions on their leader! Buchanan adds that when Truss did eventually agree to go on Question Time:
She said to me, I don’t care who is on the panel as long as it is not ‘X’ and I’m not going to tell you who ‘X’ is. So we turn up at the Green Room and there is the one person, the one person she didn’t want to go on the panel with, and she looked at me and if looks could kill… I don’t know if they did it on person because he’s a long-time baiter of hers.
So, who is the much-hated fellow panellist in question? Well Mr S has pulled out a list of Truss’s appearances on Question Time during her 11-month stint at the MoJ when Buchanan was her spad. It turns out there was, er, just the one: in March 2017 in Bedford. There were three men on that panel: the benign Ming Campbell of the Lib Dems, Jamie MacColl of Bombay Bicycle Club and Peter Hitchens of the Mail on Sunday.
Answers on a postcard as to which of those was likely to be the ‘long-time baiter’ of Liz Truss…