LONDON (Reuters) - A prominent Brexit campaigner and leading member of Britain’s government has scolded a BBC presenter for showing a lack of patriotism when asked why the country was in such political turmoil.
Interviewed on the BBC Newsnight programme a year after Britain voted to leave the European Union, Andrea Leadsom was asked why the country lacked a coherent Brexit strategy and a stable government.
“You’ve got a negotiating position which is completely unclear ... we’ve got a political system which is unstable, many believe our economy is unfair, living standards are falling, what can you point to now and say that’s going well?” presenter Emily Maitlis had asked.
Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, said the country needed to pull together.
“It would be helpful if broadcasters were willing to be a bit patriotic. The country took a decision, this government is determined to deliver on that decision.”
Britain launched its negotiations to leave the EU this week, led by Prime Minister Theresa May who has been stripped of her authority by a failure to win a majority in a June 8 election she did not need to call.
More than two weeks after the vote, May’s Conservatives have still not managed to secure a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party, a small Northern Irish group whose lawmakers will be needed to get legislation passed through parliament.
Tim Farron, the outgoing leader of the small pro-EU Liberal Democrats party, said Leadsom should apologise for her “sinister” comments. “This isn’t a George Orwell book,” he said.
Leadsom sparked uproar in the weeks after the Brexit vote when, running to be leader of the Conservative party, she said the fact she was a mother meant she had a greater stake in the future than her childless rival May.
Leadsom later apologised and withdrew from the race, leaving May to be appointed prime minister.
Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Ros Russell