When pressed on the inflation crisis, floundering foreign secretary James Cleverly was left red-faced in a harsh BBC interview. Mr Cleverly faltered in his responses six times when asked how Rishi Sunak planned to reduce price spikes, and was met with amusement by BBC Radio 4 journalist Amol Rajan. Mr Rajan immediately terminated the conversation, silencing Mr Cleverly and adding, “We’re going to the weather.” Mr Cleverly misspoke about “low-skilled inflation” causing economic hardship when he meant “low-skilled immigration.”
Mr Rajan was so irritated by Mr Cleverly’s evasion that he sarcastically thanked him for “giving me an economics lesson.” Mr Rajan was interviewed on Today ahead of the Bank of England’s predicted interest rate rise, and he was asked, “What is the PM’s plan to halve inflation?” Mr Cleverly initially stated that he was “influencing” events. He claimed that assisting in the resolution of the Ukraine war would be “a contributory factor” in lowering inflation.
He also stated, “By ensuring that the economy is more productive, through, er, training, through um, er, er, apprenticeship work…” The BBC host retorted, “That’s not going to bring inflation down.” When Mr Rajan was pressed again about what Mr Sunak would do about inflation in the medium term, Mr Cleverly responded, “As I, er, say, er, the, er, point is, with things like, erm, driving down the implications of, et, you know, fuel and food.”
The Today programme host informed the minister that core inflation in the UK was higher than in neighboring nations, and she was asked again what the government was doing about it. “One of the main vehicles for short-term addressing of inflation is interest rates,” the cabinet minister stated. When reminded that Mr Sunak did not determine interest rates and pressed for government action, Mr Cleverly stated, “Not all the levers of control are in the government’s hands.”