What not to say in an interview – a quick guide for MPs

April 29, 2013 4:17 pm

Tory MP Amber Rudd was interviewed by the FT today about what it’s like to have a small majority (she’s only 1,993 ahead of Labour in Hastings). Unfortunately for Amber, she took the opportunity to commit some significant political gaffes.

So as a public service to Amber – and other MPs – here’s a quick guide on what not to say in an interview.

When asked why you chose to stand for a seat you have no links to, and there’s a concern your constituents might thing you’re a newcomer who doesn’t care about the local area, don’t copy Amber and say:

“I wanted to be within two hours of London and I could see we were going to win it.”

When talking about your constituency – and your constituents – don’t compound the error by making it sound like a bleak hellhole, like Amber did:

“You get people who are on benefits, who prefer to be on benefits by the seaside. They’re not moving down here to get a job, they’re moving down here to have easier access to friends and drugs and drink.”

And when you’re asked about how gay marriage might have an impact on the General Election, try to avoid Amber’s mistake of getting specific (however true it might be):

“When it comes to a general election, I really don’t think they’ll still be thinking about anal sex,”

And of course always – always – stay upbeat about your chances of victory, unlike Amber, who said:

“If the worst comes to the worst, it’s been a great five years.”

With interviews like this, you can see why she might be thinking of the worst…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715486331 Alex Otley

    Fail.

  • http://twitter.com/Ceilidhann Kayleigh Anne

    Those are the words of a figure who has given up. I kind of want her to go down in a blaze of glory now. Come on, Amber, don’t stop talking!

  • kb32904

    ROFL !

  • http://twitter.com/surlywombat Paul Knights

    More honesty in politics!

  • gulfstream5

    At least Ms Rudd has heard of anal sex. Mrs Thatcher hadn’t until Willie Whitelaw was given the job of explaining it to her during the 1986 safe sex campaign. He was later seen looking shaken as he downed a succession of whiskies in the Commons bar.

  • http://twitter.com/waterwards dave stone

    “I wanted to be within two hours of London… ”

    Reminded me of O’Farrell’s refusal to live in Eastleigh. But at least they were being honest and honesty is always better than spin.

    • Lord Wheats

      I’ve been there old chap. It doesn’t have a silent B for nothing. Can’t say I blame O’Farrell. Toodle Pip

  • NT86

    Armando Iannucci wishes that The Thick of It was still in production. The line about anal warrants a collective *facepalm* from everyone who read that interview.

    I bet some swing voters in Hastings who’ve read this are starting to regret voting out Michael Foster in favour of Amber Rudd. Vaguely reminiscent of Louise Mensch’s seeming disinterest for her former constituency.

    • AlanGiles

      She is hardly encouraging people to visit Hastings, is she?.She could, for example, have mentioned the magnificent views of the sea from the West Hill with the remains of the castle, or of the East Hill near the old net shops of what remains of the fishing fleet (and the fact that John Logie Baird made his first TV experiments, including “Noctovision” which is believed to be a very early and primitive form of radar from the top of the East Hill on a windy autumn evening in 1923. Or was it 1924?, and that his workshop is commemorated by a blue plaque in the town’s old market arcade, the charm of the old town and it’s museum, and artists studios.

      She paints a very tawdry picture, but let’s be frank: every town has it’s problems, what she doesn’t seem very interested in is trying to help solve them.

  • Monkey_Bach

    Does Amber have Tourette syndrome by any chance? Eeek.

  • http://twitter.com/bencobley Ben Cobley

    I think I rather like her, but then I’ve never been a big fan of party lines. I especially like: “When it comes to a general election, I really don’t think they’ll still be thinking about anal sex.”

  • Quiet_Sceptic

    And her brother was an adviser to Tony Blair – small world!
    I wouldn’t dismiss her comments – what not to say depends on who you’re trying to appeal to. She’s not trying to appeal to intellectual Lefty types or your typical Labour voter, she’s probably concerned about loosing her core vote to UKIP.

    • http://twitter.com/waterwards dave stone

      Yes, it is a small world. According to wiki her brother, a PR executive, is advising Ed on ‘business’. Also, Amber worked for J.P Morgan after leaving university – perhaps Blair will put in a word if she wants her old job back after 2015.

    • Alex Otley

      I don’t think there’s any way that her comments make her look good. There might be some masochistic UKIPers who appreciate being told how shit they are (they presume she means other people, but she means them too). But most people feel some pride in where they live, especially if they were born or grew up there. This sort of thing doesn’t go down well and there’s no nice way of spinning it.

  • Alexwilliamz

    Who says politicians aren’t honest anymore. She may be wrong but at least she is saying what she thinks, what a refreshing change.

    • http://www.facebook.com/colin.gibson.5872 Colin Gibson

      I think a refreshing change is exactly what dear Amber is going to get

  • Rob Collis

    Unbelievable. Poor Hastings. And she really isn’t a woman of the world is she? There are plenty of straight people who indulge in anal sex, and plenty of gay men and lesbians who don’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    We have an excellent Labour candidate selected here, http://www.sarahowen.org.uk/labour/

  • JoeDM

    Oh dear, a politician who speaks her mind. We can’t have that !!!

    I rather admire her honesty.

    • Daniel Speight

      Possibly quaffing the champers a bit too much at the Conservative Club doncha think Joe?

  • Sids666

    “What not to say in an interview..”

    Sorry but I thought that this story was going to be about Ed’s car crash yesterday..not his finest hour.

  • Pingback: MP slams town - Sarah Owen for MP, Hastings and Rye()

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.lester.752 Daniel Lester

    i dont get it, whats wrong with speaking the truth? maybe more MPS should be like amber. afterall nothing she said above was a lie right? just she didnt sugar coat it with the political veil of BS we all assume is politically correctness.

    • RL

      She’s not speaking the truth.
      She’s speaking HER truth.
      And it’s very ugly, very stupid, and very contemptuous.

  • BarryCalms

    In my opinion she’s been frank and honest. Something perhaps Labour could encourage? Or perhaps Labour still thinks the way to go is to have strictly managed spin based politicians that just speak the party line like brainwashed robots.
    The public time and time again say they are crying out for honesty in their politicians. This is one such politician. Labour really need to drop this control freak persona they have.

    In regards to her comment about commuting I believe that most politicians think like this but would rather spin a loads of lies to the public. Her honesty should be applauded.

    Honesty… you might not like it, but lets have more of it and not be frightened by it.

  • Bill Meadows

    An honest politician. Now there’s something new! Perhaps more of em should try it.

  • Pingback: The Evening Post - Ed Miliband, gaffes and the art of the political interview | Michael White()

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