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Fury at BBC’s clash with Boris after rude Nick Robinson tells PM to ‘stop talking’

Fury at BBC’s clash with Boris after rude Nick Robinson tells PM to ‘stop talking’ during radio interview

  • Nick Robinson told Boris Johnson to ‘stop talking’ during a radio confrontation
  • Presenter also told the Prime Minister to ‘pause’ as they spoke over each other 
  • The clash came amid tensions between BBC and Government over impartiality
  • MPs have slammed the interview, saying it was ‘downright rude’ and ‘slapstick’


BBC veteran Nick Robinson ordered the Prime Minister to ‘stop talking’ during an extraordinary confrontation on live radio yesterday.

In a tense exchange which infuriated Tory MPs, the presenter also told Boris Johnson ‘you are going to pause’ as the pair repeatedly talked over each other on BBC Radio 4’s Today.

The clash, during Mr Johnson’s first appearance on the programme in two years, came amid growing tensions between the BBC and the Government over impartiality and the licence fee.

MPs said the interview was ‘downright rude’ and ‘slapstick’ and Conservative Party co-chairman Oliver Dowden said politicians ‘have the right to finish a sentence’.

In a tense exchange which infuriated Tory MPs, Nick Robinson (pictured) told Boris Johnson ‘you are going to pause’ as the pair repeatedly talked over each other on BBC Radio 4’s Today

A BBC source said: ‘Interviews with politicians sometimes have a bit of an edge, but they expect that, as do the public.

‘It was an interview with plenty of content and a chance to hear and debate issues.’ It came a day after the new Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, warned that the BBC may not exist in a decade and criticised its ‘snobbish’ approach.

Mr Robinson, who was a contemporary of Mr Johnson’s at Oxford, pointedly began his interview by saying it was the first time he had ‘agreed to talk to us’ in two years.

Later, as the Prime Minister spoke at length about the shortage of lorry drivers, Mr Robinson attempted to interject but his interviewee persisted.

He said: ‘Prime Minister you are going to pause. Prime Minister stop talking. We are going to have questions and answers, not where you merely talk, if you wouldn’t mind.’

At the end of the interview, Mr Johnson told the presenter: ‘It’s very kind of you to let me talk… I thought that was the point of inviting me on your show.’ 

MPs said the interview was 'downright rude' and 'slapstick'. Pictured: Nick Robinson, left, and Boris Johnson together as students

MPs said the interview was ‘downright rude’ and ‘slapstick’. Pictured: Nick Robinson, left, and Boris Johnson together as students

An unnamed senior minister described the interventions as ‘unforgivably disrespectful’ adding: ‘I wouldn’t talk to my three-year-old like that.’

A comparison between the treatment of Mr Johnson on the Today programme and that of Labour leader Keir Starmer would appear to suggest that Mr Starmer got an easier ride.

Mr Starmer was asked 16 questions in an interview last week and was interrupted nine times. Mr Johnson faced 22 interruptions during 15 questions.

Giles Watling, who sits on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said the Prime Minister should not be subjected to ‘gameshow politics’. 

Tory MP Andrew Murrison tweeted: ‘Trademark BBC rudeness coarsens political debate. Rarely gets ‘gotcha moment’ its overpaid pundits are after. Reckon it’ll be another two years Nick!’

Shortly after the interview, Mr Robinson acknowledged some listeners ‘may have just been slightly offended by me telling the Prime Minister to stop talking… the truth is he’s a great communicator [but] he’s not a man who loves the cut and thrust of a question and answer’.

Sources last night said Mr Robinson had not been rebuked by bosses.

Mr Johnson didn’t appear to have been unnerved. He told GB News after the interview that the BBC was a ‘great national institution’ that will be around ‘for a long time to come’. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk