What Rishi SHOULD have said about being in touch with ordinary people (2024)

By James Reynolds

Published: | Updated:

8 View comments

Rishi Sunakagain fell into the trap of talking about his upbringing, missing opportunities to discuss politics in a tense interview with ITV Tonight, political commentator Andrew Pierce said on the Mail's podcast The Reaction.

In conversation with Sarah Vine, Mr Pierce said the Prime Minister would do better to stay on topic with politics and brush off critique of his background to avoid 'getting himself into that box'.

Asked how he could relate to ordinary voters, Mr Sunak told ITV Tonight his parents had sacrificed 'lots of things' when he was a child, including Sky TV, as they wanted to 'put everything into our education'.

The Prime Minister, who was educated at Winchester College, was lampooned for his comments in the interview aired today, itself a source of controversy after revelations he left D-Day commemoration events in France to attend.

'He's thinking he's got to try and say "I'm not privileged because I won a scholarship",' assessed Mr Pierce. 'He should have just said, "I was one of the lucky ones. My family worked very hard...'

'He walked straight into a trap, led by the nose, so instead of talking about the manifesto on TV, we're talking about Sky telly.'

Listen to The Reaction:

Podcast All episodes

Mr Pierce suggested that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson had managed to better navigate questions about his youth despite coming from a similarly wealthy background.

Read More Sunak had to 'go without' Sky TV as a child so his parents could pay expensive private school fees

'Boris Johnson never had this problem. [He] was incredibly privileged. He didn't win a scholarship to Eton. His family sent him to Eton, the richest school in Britain.

'They had a big estate. They had a big farm down in the West Country. Boris would just parry those questions away.'

'But there's Rishi, because he's married into... one of the richest families in India. He's thinking he's got to try and say "I'm not privileged because [I] won a scholarship,' he continued.

'He should have just said "I was one of the lucky ones. My family worked very hard. My Dad's a doctor. Have I told you that before? My mum's a pharmacist. Have I told you that before?

'He could have repeated that old, boring canard and said, "I was very lucky"... I'd say if it was me, I could have listed some of the things we struggled with when we were growing up but it's tiresome, but it's boring.'

The Prime Minister spoke to ITV Tonight about his upbringing and the sacrifices of his parents

Mr Sunak left the D-Day ceremony in Normandy last week to film the interview, aired tonight

Sarah Vine suggested the insistent focus on the Prime Minister's background comes from a 'very peculiarly English, British things' - an 'obsession with... you're only good if you come from a poor background'.

Read More Social media users mock PM's attempt to explain how he's in touch with ordinary people

'Yet again, this tin-earred Prime Minister with his tin-earred advisors... if I'd been in the room I'd have been going, gesticulating, "don't answer that question",' replied Mr Pierce.

'And he walked straight into a trap, led by the nose, so instead of talking about the manifesto on TV, we're talking about Sky telly.'

Ms Vine dismissed Labour leader Keir Starmer's 'counter' that his family 'didn't have enough money to fix a window or something like that'.

'I tweeted: "I grew up without a telly. Does that mean I can be Prime Minister?" I mean, it's not a competition guys, it really isn't.'

Mr Pierce and Ms Vine discussed the comments in the context of the fallout from Rishi Sunak's early return from Normandy.

The Reactionalso covered the effect of the Covid lockdowns on children, practical solutions to improving the NHS, and spoke on their memories of Mail columnist Michael Mosley as an 'authentic' and 'incredibly admirable' colleague.

This week's episode of The Reaction is now available to stream.

NOW LISTEN TO THE REACTION

Sarah Vine and Andrew Pierce bring their own no-holds-barred opinions, insights and reaction (clue is in the title) to the biggest stories of the week. New episodes every Wednesday.

The Reaction with Sarah Vine & Andrew Pierce, now available as a podcast or on YouTube

Boris JohnsonRishi SunakFrance

What Rishi SHOULD have said about being in touch with ordinary people (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Msgr. Benton Quitzon

Last Updated:

Views: 6151

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (63 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Msgr. Benton Quitzon

Birthday: 2001-08-13

Address: 96487 Kris Cliff, Teresiafurt, WI 95201

Phone: +9418513585781

Job: Senior Designer

Hobby: Calligraphy, Rowing, Vacation, Geocaching, Web surfing, Electronics, Electronics

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Benton Quitzon, I am a comfortable, charming, thankful, happy, adventurous, handsome, precious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.