Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps grilled on BBC’s Question Time
PUBLISHED: 19:30 06 October 2011
WELWYN Hatfield MP Grant Shapps was grilled on the BBC’s flagship current affairs show Question Time last week.
Tory housing minister Mr Shapps joined the debate, last Thursday (September 29), with fellow panelists Labour’s former Europe minister Caroline Flint, Janet Street-Porter, Lib Dem Tim Farron and political columnist Peter Oborne.
Among other hot political potatoes, the panel discussed several topical issues, including the raising of motorway speed limits to 80mph, the faltering Eurozone and social housing provision.
On the proposed new speed limit, Mr Shapps said: “I think there are benefits to it [raising the speed limit to 80 mph].
But Mr Shapps was harangued and shouted down by Janet Street-Porter, who said: “Going fast doesn’t mean you’re more modern.In future the people with the most money will be going the slowest.”
Despite the “banter” and knockabout atmosphere Mr Shapps, who has appeared on the show once before, said he “enjoyed it a lot”.
Addressing the current euro crisis and the UK’s relationship with the EU, Mr Shapps swerved a question from host David Dimbleby on whether the UK should quit the EU altogether.
But he did say: “I do think we should have powers repatriated.”
Mr Shapps received rapturous applause when he slapped down Shadow Communities Secretary Caroline Flint over the budget deficit.
Reacting to her criticism that the Conservatives and Lib Dems had claimed the UK’s economy was “like Greece” when they deposed the last Labour government, he told her: “I let you get away with the last one, when you said it was thanks to you that we didn’t go into the euro, when in fact it was the Major government.
“We were exactly in the position of Greece, in fact with a bigger budget deficit than Greece, until we started to cut it.”
He was also cheered when he repeated the Government’s stance on making those earning more than £100,000 pay more for council housing, and use the revenue to build more homes.
After the show Mr Shapps told the WHT: “Representing the Government in Liverpool as a Conservative minister was never going to be a walk in the park.
“However, I found the audience friendly and open-minded, and they even clapped and cheered on a couple of occasions.
“Privately, the programme consensus was that Caroline Flint took a bit of a bruising, and she didn’t look at all happy afterwards.”
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