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Hats off to Richard Madeley!

The British broadcaster Richard Madeley did something this week that I would like others of his kind to do more often. On his ITV show “Good Morning Britain” he was interviewing the UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson on the subject of British relations with Russia in the wake of the Salisbury nerve agent poisoning incident.

Madeley asked Williamson if he regretted telling Putin and Co to “go away and shut up”, this comment being made immediately after the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in March, for which the finger of blame has always been firmly pointed at Moscow. Williamson’s original remark had been in response to Russian denials, but was also seen at the time as being un-diplomatic language that was hardly going to help the situation. Madeley’s question was therefore a pertinent one, and a straightforward yes/no answer should have been expected.

However, Williamson skirted all round it and gave responses that referred to all sorts of other matters. After asking the question four times, and getting no further forward, Madeley simply told Williamson that the interview was over.

It has become more than just irritating when politicians refuse to answer questions, and this has become an almost universal practice. It is something that the Prime Minister does with monotonous regularity during her weekly session of “Prime Minister’s Questions”, for example. Questions from opposition MPs are regularly batted away with replies that completely ignore the point at issue, or she responds with a barb aimed at the party of the questioner, along the lines of “your lot could have done this when you were in office but chose not to” or “it would be far worse if you were in power”.

Will we ever get straight answers to straight questions? It seems unlikely!

  • Do you agree that Richard Madeley did the right thing?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Can there be acceptable reasons for politicians not giving straight answers?

    • Yes
    • No
  • In your country, are your political leaders regularly required to answer questions posed by elected representatives of the people?

    • Yes
    • No

What do you think?

5 points
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