Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | 1,003 day ago

MP Walks Out Of Interview, We Totally Feel Him

The Debrief: Chuka Umunna thought he was on the news to talk about the economy, but was then asked to slag off another minister…

We know a girl who, promised a roast by her boyfriend, ended up having spaghetti Bolognese, with quorn mince instead of meat. So she went into a bathroom and cried and cried and cried and as first world problems as it seems, we kind of get how she felt. She was promised one thing and but then given another, and that sort of stuff hurts.

She could now sympathise with Labour MP Chuka Umunna, who thought he was invited onto Sky News to talk about the economy, but was then questioned about Muslim communities. Here’s the video:

If you can’t watch right now, here’s what happened. Sky’s newsreader Dermot Murnaghan asked Chukka, the Shadow Business Secretary, his opinions on a letter that Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, had sent to 1,000 imams following the Islamist extremist attacks in Paris, and the near-daily threats from ISIS that Britain is next in their crosshairs.

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Though The Guardian reports the Muslim Council of Britain has complained about the letter, saying it’s not really for a non-Muslim MP to tell Muslims, the vast majority of whom aren't extremists, to ‘explain and demonstrate how faith in Islam can be part of British identity’, Chukka didn’t want to say anything about the letter, as he hadn’t seen it: ‘I’m not sure I would use the word patronising for the simple reason that I haven’t actually read the letter.’

He added: ‘Nobody told me I was going to come on to this programme and asked to agree whether I thought the government was patronising Muslim people and Muslim leaders.

‘I’m not just going to speak off piste without actually having read a letter. I don’t think you are being terribly fair. Your viewers can make their own decision.’

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He then walked off the set of the interview. Which is pretty noble, because, well, he could have scored a few cheap points by having a go at Eric, but he decided against it until he had a fully-formed opinion.

Plus, he also admitted to not knowing something, which refreshingly un-bullshit of an MP. We’re not sure if you’ve read Freakonomics, but there’s a whole chapter there all about the merits of actually admitting that you don’t know something, and that bullshitting just leads to more bullshitting. So, even though Chukka might have been avoiding the whole issue, we almost salute him for his diva moment.

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Tags: Pure Politics