I’ve never thought of Richard Madeley as a hard-hitting interviewer before. But he wasn’t going to let Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson off the hook this week without answering a straight question about his comments that Russia should “shut up and go away” following the Skripal poisoning. After asking the same question four times, Madeley gave up and terminated the interview.

Politicians are known for dodging awkward questions, but Williamson would have been far better to have tackled it head-on – either with a robust defence of his comments or an acknowledgement that they were misjudged. That would have enabled him to move on.

By repeatedly ignoring the question and trying to stick robotically to a predefined line that didn’t fit the conversation, he was left weakly stumbling, mumbling and looking like someone who couldn’t command his side of a conversation, let alone the UK’s defences.

Click the image below to view the interview:


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