Tory MP tells BBC Director General that Joe Lycett shouldn’t have been booked after he mocked Liz Truss on live TV

Steve Brine raised what he called the "Joe Lycett debacle" in parliament

Steve Brine MP at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

On Sunday, the comedian Joe Lycett appeared on Laura Kuenssberg’s new Sunday morning politics show. His appearance, in which he gave Liz Truss faux praise and applause following her interview on the show has since been the subject of major ire from right wing newspapers and MPs.

Today, the BBC‘s Director General Tim Davie made an appearance at parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Rather than choosing to ask searching questions about the future of the broadcaster, Tory MP Steve Brine chose to raise with Davie what he described as the “Joe Lycett debacle”.

Speaking about the debut of Kuenssberg’s show, Brine said, “I would say that her show got off to a challenging start in terms of major appeal outside of SW1 and on this whole of this issue of impartiality by the Joe Lycett debacle, where he is asked on as a pundit. He did this mock applause after Liz Truss left the interview chair, was then immediately asked for his reaction and he said: “she was the dregs of what they’ve got available and the backwash of the available MPs.”

Brine went on to suggest that the BBC shouldn’t have booked Lycett for the show. He said, “Now whatever your opinion, my colleagues around this table, whatever the opinion of people in my party – not really relevant. But for a brand new show that really wants to get off to a good start, when you’re booking a pundit to go on – Joe Lycett is not an uncontroversial figure – you talk about the conversations that go on after output, how about a conversation that goes on before output where somebody says – “You know what, new show, new start, new term – let’s not book Joe, because we know what Joe’s going to deliver. You see, somebody who’s ungenerous to the BBC could say, “You knew exactly what Joe was going to deliver, and that’s why you booked him”. ”

Elsewhere in his contributions, Brine went on to hit out at Gary Lineker for his comments criticising the government – specifically raising his tweets on the government’s lack of action on private water companies pumping raw sewage into our rivers and seas.

Brine’s intervention is just the latest wholly disproportionate response to a comedian making jokes about a politician. On Monday, the Daily Mail dedicated its front page to Lycett’s appearance on the show.

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

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