Straight in at No 1 – Diane Abbott in poll position for car crash interview prize!

Labour Suffer Another Election Interview Fall

Just what the Labour party didn’t need at the beginning of week 3 of this election – another big  media gaffe! It’s highly possible that the corridors of Labour Party HQ were echoing to the sounds of the  Britney Spears classic ‘Oops we did it again!’ yesterday as Diane Abbott went straight to number one in our chart of most excruciating election interviews… so far.

Two weeks ago, Labour MP Dawn Butler became the first media gaffe casualty of the campaign but yesterday Ms Abbott, shadow Home Secretary, and one of the big Labour guns, eclipsed her by tripping over a  policy pledge for extra police funding. On paper it looked like a straight forward phone interview with LBC’s Nick Ferrari (although as Natalie Bennett will attest to, nothing gets past Nick Ferrari) and the chance for Labour to play a trusty law and order card in the form of a pledge to recruit an extra 10,000 new police officers should Labour be elected.

However, quizzed on the numbers, Ms Abbott came unstuck and at one point came up with a funding figure that set the cost at £30 per new cop! Smelling blood, the broadcaster went after her. Cue uncomfortable silence + time stalling repetition of the question + an ‘um’ or two (as listeners formed a picture in their head of Ms Abbott scribbling sums on the back of an old shopping list…), before the figure of £300,000 was rounded up to “about £80 million.”

As an experienced politician, Ms Abbott was quick to bite back as the media frenzy in an elevensies cup ensued, blaming them for prioritising the gaffe over the real issue. However, the damage was done. Like a bad smell, a publicised gaffe will linger, wiping out any other Party positives for the day and providing ammunition for the Tories. Labour can ill afford days like these in the election and must be hoping that by the law of averages, the next politician to slip up will be wearing Tory blue…

Luan de Burgh

May 2017

Luan de Burgh is a speaker, writer and founder of The de Burgh Group – a specialist business communication training provider dedicated to helping people perform at their highest potential.