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05th Sep 2022

Tories demand apology after Joe Lycett mocks Liz Truss interview on Laura Kuenssberg show

Steve Hopkins

Lycett has continued to laugh off the criticism, saying he plans to frame a Daily Mail report about the controversy

Members of the Tory party have reportedly demanded an apology from the BBC after Joe Lycett mocked Liz Truss following her interview with Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday.

The comedian sarcastically applauded Truss – who won the Conservative party leadership race on Monday –  and could be heard shouting “you smashed it Liz”, once the interview finished.

When asked what his “honest” thoughts were on Truss’ response on the energy crisis, Lycett replied: “You said earlier I’m not left or right. I know there’s been criticism in the Mail on Sunday today about leftie liberal wokie comedians on the BBC. I’m actually very right wing and I love it. I thought she gave great clear answers. I know exactly what she’s up to.”

The conversation only got worse from there, with Lycett continuing to circle back and poke fun at Truss’ plans as Kuenssberg urged him to reply seriously.

The exchange on the newly-launched Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg show led to The Daily Mail publishing a front page with the headline: “Now BBC comic mocks Liz Truss,” with the article claiming “anti-Tory bias” from the corporation.

Lycett responded to the article as you’d imagine, saying he’s be “off to the framers in the morning.”

According to The National, the BBC’s decision to invite Lycett on the show has sparked outrage among the Tory party.

One senior source told the publication: “That’s supposed to be a serious political programme. I think it made Laura Kuenssberg look stupid … I think it’s absurd.

“How could that possibly be the right thing for the BBC to do. If I was the BBC I would issue an apology and say we got it wrong, we made a mistake and we will go back to being a serious political programme.”

Despite outrage from many, Lycett has also been praised for his performance, including by Labour MP Jess Phillips, who tweeted: “I’m biased for sure, but refusing to take the deeply unserious performance and proposals from Liz Truss seriously showed exactly how seriously Joe Lycett thinks politics and the energy crisis is.

“His performance was better and more honest than Truss by a country mile.”

Senior sources at the BBC have defended the decision to book Lycett, with one telling The National that it needed “levity” and that there would be “people of all views over time”.

They added: “It’s important that impartiality isn’t seen as balance in one show. That’s not the objective and never was.

“You show me a launch programme that gets every tiny detail right on day one.”

The BBC has previously come under fire for “conveniently” cutting off Lycett’s criticsm of the UK Government during this year’s Commonwealth Games.

The comedian had said: “I’m going to do something now that the British government doesn’t always do, and welcome some foreigners, this time from the region of Asia.”

The clip, which went out on social media following the comment, cut off before the joke about the government’s policy.

In March 2021, satirical comedy show The Mash Report, hosted by Nish Kumar, was axed after accusations by veteran journalist Andrew Neil that it was  “left-wing propaganda”.

Kumar was also amongst those to praise Lycett for his appearance on Sunday’s show.

Last month, former Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis caused a stir during a lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival by claiming there was an “active agent of the Conservative Party” who was shaping the corporation’s news content.

A BBC spokesperson said at the time that they placed “the highest value on due impartiality”.

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