Flop of the month: MP Sarah Olney's car-crash interview on Talk Radio

If the golden rule of a political interview is to prepare for every likely question, then Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney and her team fell at the first hurdle when grilled by Julia Hartley-Brewer on Talk Radio just hours after she was elected MP for Richmond.

The ex-accountant, who won the seat from former Conservative Zac Goldsmith, was caught off guard when, in reference to Lib Dem leader Tim Farron's support for a second EU referendum on the terms of Brexit, Hartley-Brewer asked why there shouldn't also be a second by-election.

Hartley-Brewer pressed Olney on whether it is right for a party to change its policy after a referendum.

Olney responded by saying there "wasn't a clear manifesto set out for the terms of leaving", a claim disputed by Hartley-Brewer, who said it was very clear Brexit meant leaving the single market.

The MP's PR adviser interrupted, saying: "Erm, really sorry, but Sarah Olney has to leave now."

"No, she doesn't!" was Hartley-Brewer's stern response.

Cue headlines about the new Lib Dem MP being 'dragged off' by her PR.

The serious point is that Olney and her party failed to communicate their reasons for supporting a controversial policy, and instead appeared muddled. It's a lesson that the country's newest MP, and her party, won't want to forget soon.

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