BBC Breakfast’s Naga Munchetty took no prisoners as she ‘skewered’ Security Minister Damian Hinds amid more claims of ‘parties’ being held at Downing Street in the lockdown.
According to latest reports, advisers and civil servants are accused of drinking into the early hours of the morning on April 16, 2021, and dancing in the basement of Boris Johnson’s home the day before the Queen was forced to sit alone at Prince Philip’s funeral due to social distancing rules.
Eyewitnesses say that staff boogied to music DJ’d by special adviser Shelley Williams-Walker, who is yet to deny the claim, while one person who was there that night said she was nicknamed ‘DJ SWW’ in reference to her initials.
It’s been alleged one was sent to Co-op ‘with a suitcase to purchase more wine’, some people ‘worried there was too much wine spilling on the basement carpet’, while one person broke a child’s swing belonging to the Prime Minister’s son Wilf’, the Telegraph reports.
At the time, the country was being told not to socialise indoors with anyone outside their own households and to only meet outdoors in limited groups.
Not wasting any time on Friday morning, Munchetty wanted to know Mr Hinds’ position on the allegations, however, he claimed her reading of the accusations, as well as a statement from James Slack, who is the Prime Minister’s former Director of Communications, who said he was at an alleged gathering, was the first he’d heard of it.
Mr Hinds said: ‘Reading this story this morning I like you, and everybody else hearing about it, was shocked. It was a particularly solemn time for our whole nation as Her Majesty The Queen was mourning Prince Philip.
‘I was shocked by these allegations. I personally don’t know more about them and what you’ve just read out to me, that’s the first time I’ve heard that, so it’s difficult for me to comment further.’
Not letting up, Munchetty – who later clarified Slack’s statement referred to an ‘event’ rather than a ‘party’ – asked him: ‘Tell me how you would react. There was a party in Downing Street on the 16th of April 2021, held at 10 Downing Street, at least one on that evening. How do you react to that?’
‘Like I say, I was shocked,’ Mr Hinds replied, as Munchetty interjected to ask if he was ‘disgusted’.
‘We could go through a number of words I’m sure, Naga…’ he said.
After he was asked whether it was ‘proper’, Mr Hinds repeated his admission of ‘shock’ before insisting he wasn’t in a position to talk about the detail, as he ‘wasn’t there’ and also due to the investigation being held by senior civil servant Sue Gray into alleged parties at Downing Street.
Munchetty asked: ‘Let’s make this clearer then, there was a party, James Slack said there was a party, he was there, knowing now there was a party at Downing Street, do you accept that broke the rules?’
After further back and forth over Mr Hinds inability to add further comment, Munchetty asked again whether ‘if there was a party and the rules were you couldn’t have social gatherings, does it break the rules?’
The minister said: ‘Yes, on the face of it, if you have a large number of people invited to a social event, but what I’m saying, I’m not, as I sit here in your studio in Millbank, seeing the same press story you’ve seen…I don’t know more than that about these events…’
He was asked if there was a ‘culture of rule-breaking’ in Downing Street and as Mr Hinds recognised ‘there is a great deal of fury, anger, upset, disappointment’ from the public, Munchetty interupted: ‘I apologise if I wasn’t clear, I’m not asking if you recognise the fury…’ before going on to re-ask her question.
The MP finally replied: ‘I don’t believe the government, which I support and which I am a member of, no, I don’t believe that to be the case.’
Viewers backed Munchetty’s no-holds-barred approach to the interview, with one branding her ‘relentless’ as others said she ‘skewered’ the MP and ‘cornered him with simple logic’.
Journalist Sarah Shaffi wrote on Twitter: ‘I don’t like to start my day with watching the news, but I just went and watched@TVNaga01interview Damian Hinds, and I’ve never seen so thorough a knockout before 8am, and it was satisfying. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 Naga.’
Another viewer wrote: ‘Naga Munchetty is rocking it on bbc breakfast news – demolished Damian Hinds.’
That’s not to say others disagreed with the interview’s questioning, as one viewer fumed: ‘Oh fgs Naga. The bloke clearly knows NOTHING – as he’s already said HE WASN’T THERE! Stop with the pathetic ‘gotcha’ sh**e. Should I be held responsible for what someone I work with may or may not have done? If you want to rip someone apart, try the guilty person!’
Credit: Original article published here.