Brit calls for ‘mature conversation’ amid ‘Punch and Judy’ debate on BBC Question Time

Question Time: Alistair Campbell shut down by host

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BBC host Fiona Bruce was joined by Question Time panellists and audience members in Torquay last night in the show’s final episode of the series. Tory MP Bim Afolami, Labour MP Chris Bryant, NFU president Minette Batters, NEU president Mary Bousted and Telegraph journalist Olivia Utley sat on the panel in the seaside town in Devon.

However, during a discussion on Boris Johnson, one audience member urged panellists to avoid a “Punch and Judy” debate about the outgoing Prime Minister.

He said: “Talking about turning people off from politics, one of the problems is it is so binary.

“It’s like a Punch and Judy show even with the conversation which is happening now.

“Chris [Bryant] you’re saying he’s a liar and that is all you’re saying and then there is just a defensive response [from Bim Afolami].

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“And, actually, if you talk about this maturely then Boris Johnson’s a liar, I wouldn’t defend that.

“But look at what he has done and to remind ourselves let’s look at what Parliament was like before he took over when we were going through the Brexit situation and Parliament was just a laughing stock.”

He added: “Boris has led us out of that, he’s followed the will of the people in the country, got us Brexit, he’s dealt with Covid, he’s introduced levelling-up and Ukraine, he’s done well there.”

Responding to the audience member’s demand for a “more mature conversation”, Mr Bryant said: “I don’t think he’s got the big calls right.”

The Labour MP claimed many European countries had a faster vaccination roll-out than Britain, pointed out the Prime Minister had played down concerns about inflation and alleged the Conservative Party has “refused to deal with dodgy Russian money in the British economy”.

Mr Johnson announced he would resign as Prime Minister pending a Tory Party leadership race after he was hit by mass resignations from his Government last week.

Ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak has emerged as the frontrunner within the parliamentary party but Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt seems to be winning over large swathes of Conservative members.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss received a boost yesterday after ERG chair Mark Francois and ex-leadership contender Suella Braverman endorsed the South West Norfolk MP.

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Mr Sunak, Ms Mordaunt and Ms Truss will join ex-Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch and Tonbridge & Malling MP Tom Tugendhat for a debate on Channel 4 at 7pm tonight.

Question Time will take a break over the summer but will be back shortly after MPs return to Parliament.

Ms Bruce revealed that the next episode will be filmed in Birmingham on September 15.

She also invited residents in Grimsby to attend the following instalment on September 22.

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