Alastair Campbell Explodes At BBC Newsnight Host And Brexiteer In Uncomfortable On-Air Row

Tony Blair's ex-spin doctor left Victoria Derbyshire and Alex Phillips looking aghast with his outburst.
Things went awry during a conversation between Alastair Campbell, Alex Phillips and BBC Newsnight's Victoria Derbyshire on Thursday
Things went awry during a conversation between Alastair Campbell, Alex Phillips and BBC Newsnight's Victoria Derbyshire on Thursday
BBC Newsnight

Alastair Campbell lost his cool completely on BBC Newsnight on Thursday, raging at both the host and a fellow guest over Brexit.

Tony Blair’s former spin doctor has been a prominent campaigner against Brexit for years – and his strong feelings clearly came to the surface last night.

He began: “Will any of these people who fought so hard for Brexit ever face up to their own responsibility and face the fact that what they all promised was a pack of lies? What they all promised was never going to work?”

Addressing fellow guest Alex Phillips – adviser to the Reform Party, former MEP and keen Brexiteer – he claimed that “none of you” have ever presented a plan showing that Brexit could happen without damaging the UK.

Campbell also addressed how Brexiteers have been furious this week over the government’s alleged “climbdown”, after it decided not to scrap all of the EU tape by the end of the year, as previously promised.

“When I say you talk nonsense – let me finish,” Campbell said, as Phillips tried to interrupt, “All of those laws that you’re talking about were enacted by elected British governments and elected British parliaments.”

Referencing Phillips’ stint as a Brexit Party MEP, he continued: “The fact that you in Europe couldn’t do anything about it underlines that sovereignty lies here.”

Campbell then laid into the Brexit “lies” such as the millions which were expected to go to the NHS once the UK left the EU.

Phillips replied: “It’s very rich from the man who essentially was part of telling lies to invade a country to accuse me of dishonesty.”

Ignoring this reference to the Iraq War, Alastair hit back: “I think you might have lost the argument there, my dear.”

There was a second of awkward silence before he added: ”If I may patronise you any more.”

Host Victoria Derbyshire then tried to cut them both off, saying, “That’s it now, I’m afraid,” and putting her hands up in a bid to cool the tensions.

But Campbell replied: “No. I’m sorry, you bring these people on – you never challenge them. You let them talk utter rubbish about Brexit.

“And it has happened on the BBC for year after year after year.”

Derbyshire said: “I am not going to take that from you, with respect, Mr Campbell.”

“Fine, fine,” Campbell said. “Well, you don’t have to.”

″Thank you very much for being on the programme,” Derbyshire said.

“Thank you for having me,” Phillips replied, while Campbell also expressed his thanks.

But – before the camera had actually turned off him and when his microphone was still on, he could be heard muttering: “For God’s sake.”

Campbell and Phillips both tweeted about the incident afterwards, with the former MEP claiming: “I came off air shaking at his rudeness.”

She added: “Let’s have a political debate but this was outright bullying, intimidation and frankly thinly veiled misogyny. I would feel quite ashamed of myself if I acted like that on air. It was not a good look.”

Campbell replied: “Accepted it was not exactly disagreeing agreeably but I think every now and then people who are given a free ride to talk absolute nonsense and face no responsibility for their role in damage to the nation are challenged.”

He also tweeted straight after the show saying he had apologised to Victoria, and that “she is one of the best”.

But, he added: “It is infuriating to seek to debate serious issues with people who despite all the damage their beloved Brexit has done continue to talk absolute rubbish eg about how EU law was made or econ cost of the Leave campaign lies and false promises.”


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