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A week in UK politics: great gaffes, absent interviewees and marital malaise

Interview of the week

Sky News presenter Kay Burley reacted with fury when, having expected to be grilling Tory chairman James Cleverly, she was left facing an empty chair. A row ensued over the reasons behind the no-show. Yet with the quality of political talent on display over the last week, fellow broadcasters have been asking if the chair is still available for interviews. Certainly an inanimate piece of office furniture would offer better insight than some of the outings this week. First prize must go to minister Nadhim Zahawi, who suggested he didn’t know whether it was Jeremy Corbyn’s policy to actually shoot the rich. His punishment? Zahawi was sent out to do even more interviews. Poor campaign directors have to get their revenge somehow.

Candidate of the week

A rich tapestry to pick from, with many quitting or being ousted. One hopeful, however, went above and beyond. Step forward Jane Aitchison, Labour candidate for Pudsey, West Yorkshire, who was drawn into an attempt to defend a colleague who said she would celebrate the death of Tony Blair. After several failed attempts to shake off BBC interviewer Emma Barnett, there was a 12-second pause as Aitchison skimmed through a mental Rolodex of stupid answers. Identifying the glorious winner, she said: “People do celebrate death sometimes… for instance, they celebrated the death of Hitler.” Ah yes, that’ll sort it.

Gaffe of the week

From the claim by Jacob Rees-Mogg that Grenfell victims lacked common sense to the resignation of alleged cabinet minister Alun Cairns, it really would be unfair to pick a winner. As a result, the prize for gaffe of the week goes to the entire political class for efforts that could double as a Monty Python sketch. Former UK national security adviser Mark Lyall Grant captured the mood. When asked about possible Russian interference in the election, the former diplomat observed: “If I was a Russian spy trying to undermine British democracy, it would be difficult to know quite where you’d put the effort.”

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Good week

Journalists writing about the absurdity of the election campaign. We haven’t even mentioned the Brexit party candidate whose band dresses up as undead pilots of the Luftwaffe or the Tory candidate who stood down only to be replaced by his wife. This column thanks them all for the material.

Bad week

The electorate. It pains me to inform you that at the end of all this, someone does unfortunately have to run the country. Perhaps a minority government unable to actually do anything wasn’t such a bad idea after all.


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