BBC Question Time: Alastair Campbell And John McDonnell Clash Escalates After Salisbury Show

Witnesses said the verbal blows nearly turned physical.

16/09/2016 09:14 | Updated 16 September 2016
The two senior Labour figures continued their debate after last night's programme ended

The fiery clash between Alastair Campbell and John McDonnell spilled on after the cameras on Question Time stopped rolling last night. 

On-air they sparred over Labour’s future, with the leader’s right-hand man branding Tony Blair’s former spin doctor “nauseating” for deriding the “disastrous” direction of the party.

But the debate didn’t stop when David Dimbleby called time and the 60 minutes were up. 

Campbell later told his 350,000 Twitter followers he hoped Corbyn was “more sincere” about re-uniting a divided Labour party than McDonnell was. 

“This is a man who hates anyone who helped Labour win,” Campbell lamented.

There were also claims Campbell and McDonnell came close to trading blows with each other soon after the credits rolled on Thursday night’s programme. 

One on-looker told The Mirror both political heavyweights traded insults and it was feared the anger could turn to physical violence. A spokesperson for McDonnell denied the claims that there was a further altercation after the programme.  

The most heated point of their argument on Question Time came when Campbell was quizzed on the effects of Blair’s legacy on Labour’s sharp turn to the left.

McDonnell raised his voice, challenging Campbell and claiming the reason Corbyn was elected with such a large mandate last year was that “people wanted some honesty back in politics”. 

A visibly riled Campbell shook his head in disbelief and retorted: “Look John, I’ve come on here tonight to be as nice to you as I possibly can.”

McDonnell said “the feeling’s mutual” while Campbell continued: “I care about the Labour Party. I worry that you and yours are destroying it. I actually think you don’t even care.”


Suggest a correction