April 22, 2024
Economy

Question Time audience roars with laughter at Tory MP’s response on economy amid recession


The audience ridiculed Tory MP Graham Stuart after he struggled to say whether Rishi Sunak had grown the economy despite the UK having slipped into a recession



Question Time: Audience erupts in laughter at Tory MP

A Question Time audience roared with laughter as a Tory MP struggled to say whether Rishi Sunak had grown the economy despite the UK having slipped into a recession.

Climate Minister Graham Stuart was ridiculed after dodging multiple questions on whether the PM had failed to meet his pledge to grow the economy when grilled by BBC presenter Fiona Bruce. She first asked him: “With the UK now officially in recession, has the Government failed to meet yet another pledge? Rishi Sunak said he was going to grow the economy.”




The MP for Beverley and Holderness responded: “Well absolutely, and that is the aim… the answer to that is that we made the top priority, as this audience knows, inflation.” Members on the panel and the audience chuckled at the Tory MP’s attempt to move away from economic growth. He continued: “Inflation was 11% a year ago, we said we would halve that. That was the first of the pledges. It’s now down to 4%.”

Climate Minister Graham Stuart was ridiculed after dodging multiple questions

A frustrated Ms Bruce interrupted: “But hang on, just to be clear, in fairness to Sanam, [who asked the question from the audience], you’re sitting so politely and nicely, I’m just going to try to get your question answered, if I may. Has the Government failed to meet yet another pledge on growing the economy? Has it or hasn’t it?”

As Mr Stuart took a painful pause to think of his answer, the audience broke into roaring laughter. He then said: “The economy went into a technical, as you said, recession in the last quarter.”

Ms Bruce audibly groaned and hit back: “So the answer is, it has failed to meet this pledge?” Mr Stuart finally admitted: “It has not grown, the economy, in the last two quarters, so to that extent it has failed the pledge.” He then ranted about cutting inflation again.

Rishi Sunak’s promise to halve inflation is the only one of his five pledges he has managed to achieve. The PM has failed to stop the boats, grow the economy, cut NHS waiting lists or reduce debt.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday estimated that GDP – a key measure of economic activity – fell by 0.3% in the last three months of 2023, following a decline of 0.1% in the previous three months. It means that the economy entered a technical recession, as defined by two or more quarters in a row of falling GDP, for the first time since the first half of 2020 amid the havoc of the initial Covid-19 lockdown.



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