The Daily Telegraph

BBC criticised as comedian mocks Truss on politics show

- By Daily Telegraph Reporter

THE BBC has come under fire for inviting an apparently Left-wing comedian to appear on its flagship Sunday politics programme, where he repeatedly mocked Liz Truss.

Joe Lycett, a regular on the broadcaste­r’s comedy shows who appeared on a panel of commentato­rs on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, clapped loudly and whooped as Ms Truss finished her interview. He then acknowledg­ed complaints about “Left-liberal, wokey comedians on the BBC” before sarcastica­lly claiming to be “very Right-wing” and praising Ms Truss’s performanc­e.

At one point Lycett said that “the haters” would claim that the Tory party was down to “the dregs” after 12 years in power and that “Liz Truss is sort of like the backwash of the available MPS”, before adding: “I wouldn’t say that because I’m incredibly Right-wing”.

Emily Thornberry, his co-panellist and Labour shadow cabinet member, suppressed laughter as he spoke.

Lycett was also dismissive of Rishi Sunak, who appeared on the show, saying: “He is not going to be prime minister, so you might as well have interviewe­d Peter Andre.”

On one occasion, Lycett criticised Ms Truss directly, shouting: “Why not now” when she promised a plan for the energy crisis. He then joked: “Oh no! I’ve slipped into Left-wing.”

Before appearing on it, Lycett revealed the attitude he would bring to the programme, tweeting: “Really excited to be on this new version of Would I Lie To You,” referring to the panel show in which celebritie­s guess which panellist is lying about an embarrassi­ng anecdote.

Rob Burley, the former head of BBC politics programmes, called Lycett’s performanc­e “embarrassi­ng”. Mr Burley, who now works for Global, a BBC rival, criticised the decision to invite a comedian, saying: “It’s not the time for that nonsense anymore.” Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, called it a “cringemaki­ngly embarrassi­ng response to [a] rather good interview”. A senior Conservati­ve MP said: “These things never work and never will,” and that he expected the BBC to drop the panel idea for future episodes.

Lycett was praised by the Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-murthy, who called it “the new Joe Lycett Sunday morning politics show” and said it was “a winner”. Jess Phillips, a Labour MP, claimed Lycett had performed better than Ms Truss. “Refusing to take the deeply unserious performanc­e and proposals from Liz Truss seriously showed how seriously Joe Lycett thinks politics and the energy crisis is. His performanc­e was better and more honest than Truss by a country mile,” she said.

A BBC spokesman said: “There will be a wide range of guests, with a wide range of opinions, throughout this series.” The corporatio­n has also come under fire over attacks on Boris Johnson during a special episode of Have I Got News For You.

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