Flop of the Month: Defence Secretary blasted by Richard Madeley as plug pulled on interview

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson suffered a reputation hit after he repeatedly failed to answer Richard Madeley's question on live TV.

The Ministry of Defence possibly didn’t bank on such a determined line of questioning from Richard Madeley, a man more closely associated with lighter, human interest broadcasting, when Williamson appeared on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday (29 May).

But the interview received a huge amount of publicity after Madeley dramatically truncated it because Williamson would not answer his question.

The presenter repeatedly asked whether Williamson regretted saying a few weeks ago, soon after Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats in the aftermath of the Skripal poisoning, that Russia should "go away and shut up".

To Madeley’s growing frustration, Williamson’s approach was to repeat the Government’s line on the Skripal incident.

"It would be helpful if you answered a straight question with a straight answer," said the interviewer.

Some commentators argued that it is Madeley who looks foolish in the video, with his increasingly flustered, Partridge-esque manner. The MP was ostensibly on the programme to discuss the deployment of UK troops in Malawi to fight poaching, and the sight of an elephant wandering behind him throughout adds a comic element.

Unfortunately for Williamson, these factors merely helped to make the video more entertaining and probably encouraged it to go viral.

But the elephant in the room is that a senior politician’s reputation has suffered a blow.

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