Kwarteng dismisses concerns about Tory benefits policies – and Marr lets him off the hook (Part Two of Three)

Soundbite: Kwasi Kwarteng.

The second act of the three-part farce acted out on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday (November 18) started when a panel including Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng was asked to discuss the possible eviction of vCJD sufferer Emily Lydon (read her story here).

As the story was breaking only days after the UN special rapporteur on poverty, Professor Philip Alston, had warned that the hardship suffered by the most vulnerable people in the UK had been deliberately inflicted on them by the Tories, to achieve “radical social re-engineering”, Mr Kwarteng would have been well-advised to take a diplomatic approach.

He did not.

Here’s what he said:

Notice he said he did not know “who this UN man is” – confirmation that the Tories are determined to ignore Professor Alston’s findings.

People in the real world condemned Mr Kwarteng’s words and pilloried their speaker.

For example, Loula Abdulla tweeted: “There’s obviously something very wrong with this man. I think he’s a sociopath, there’s no other possible explanation for such an ignorant brushing aside of that example of Tory injustice.”

And this is from Barbara Keeley: “Tory MP Kwasi Kwarteng response on this case is disgraceful. No compassion or empathy. Says it all about the Tories.”

Critically, the show’s anchor, Andrew Marr, was soft on Mr Kwarteng to the point of liquidity. His only contribution was to ask if Mr Kwarteng thought the UN report was “appropriate” – to which he received the obvious answer from a Tory.

Here‘s Andy Searson on that: “Look how easily Marr allows the Tory off the hook when faced with the reality of their policies on ordinary people.”

And former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams hit the nail squarely on the head.

So, despite the revelation of an atrocity that is being committed by the Tory government against UK citizens who are powerless to prevent it, one of our most prominent press representatives failed to hold a member of that government to account. He was to prove hypocritically less compliant when interviewing a member of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, unfortunately…

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