The show host asked what was the point of having a so-called minister of common sense in cabinet – leaving McVey looking rather uncomfortable.
The right-wing Tory MP has also been dubbed Rishi Sunak’s new “minister for woke” and the cabinet’s culture warrior.
McVey was only appointed to Sunak’s cabinet last month, but her job title became a talking point after an audience member asked: “I was just wondering if it tells us something that the Tory Party need a minister for common sense?”
Laughter broke out around the room, to which McVey noted her real role is minister in the cabinet office without portfolio.
She said her job is about scrutiny and making sure there is value for money, and listed her predecessors such as Lord Ken Clarke, who served as minister without portfolio from 2012 to 2014.
So Bruce asked: “Is the whole common sense thing inaccurate then?”
McVey said it was just a “popular term”, and started to list the “common sense” actions Sunak has already taken, such as delaying the ban on petrol and diesel cars or scrapping the Manchester leg of HS2.
The host pushed: “He’s done that already, so why does he need you?”
McVey just said there was more to be done.
But Bruce cut in: “Just to be clear, these were things that happened before you were minister for common sense.
“Now you are minister for common sense, is that suggesting that the minister who. are already doing their jobs in various departments of the cabinet, they don’t have enough common sense – so you’ve got to come in and display more common sense?
“Literally how does it work?” the host asked, as the room broke into a round of applause.
“They do have common sense, absolutely,” McVey defended her colleagues.
Bruce cut in: “But just not quite enough.”
The Tory MP said it was just about “bringing in a scrutiny”. She added that being minister of common sense was just a fun name, and that she would be working on behalf of the people to bring pragmatism into politics.
Comedian Zoe Lyons, who was also on the panel, then joined in: “I can understand how being presented with a minister for common sense is quite irksome.
“All I can imagine in my head is that your office is besides the ministers of funny walks. It’s on that sort of level.”