With her unusually gracious attack on the government, a BBC Question Time audience member put a Conservative MP on the defensive. The show, which came from Scunthorpe this week, was dominated by a discussion about Nadhim Zahawi’s tax affairs, the latest scandal to engulf the Tory government.
MP Jake Berry, the party’s former chairman, appeared on the panel and admitted that his successor should step down while investigating the matter. But he appeared concerned when one woman picked up on the issue of trust and abandoned the confrontational style that the show is known for.
She said, “I am a local GP, and trust is such a vital component of my profession. No disrespect to you, sir, and I don’t mean to embarrass you at all. But we’ve had so many incidents, from Matt Hancock to Boris Johnson to now Nadhim Zahawi, and lots of others.
“I just really struggle to understand how we can trust the Conservative Party. And like I said, I don’t mean to embarrass you at all.”
“So politely put,” said host Fiona Bruce, as all Berry could do was smile.
“From Matt Hancock to Boris Johnson to now Nadhim Zahawi and lots of others. I just really struggle to understand how we can trust the Conservative Party?”
— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) January 26, 2023
The Tory Party chairman, Asad Zahawi, has admitted to paying the penalty as part of a £4.8 million settlement with tax collectors. As Rishi Sunak resisted calls to sack him, the prime minister’s ethics adviser is investigating whether he violated ministerial rules.
Johnson, who was fined for breaking lockdown rules and faces an inquiry into whether he lied to the Commons about partygate, was forced to resign as Tory leader and, ultimately, PM in July after cabinet allies deserted him in a wave of resignations.
The final straw during the BBC Question Time was a question about his judgment in the Chris Pincher affair, in which the then-Tory whip was accused of drunken groping.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Hancock, then health secretary, violated coronavirus social distancing rules by having an affair in his ministerial office with aide Gina Coladangelo.
On Thursday, it was revealed that he received £320,000 for his appearance on I’m a Celebrity, but despite promises, he has only donated a fraction of the fee to charity.
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