'I Don’t Need Any Lectures From You About Balance,' BBC's Nick Robinson Tells Minister

He asked George Eustice: “You are a farmer...have you ever stumbled across porn when looking for a tractor?”
Robinson and Eustice
Robinson and Eustice

Nick Robinson slapped down a cabinet minister today, telling him: “I don’t need any lectures from you about balance.”

The journalist clashed with environment secretary George Eustice during an interview on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.

The exchange grew particularly terse when Robinson asked him about standards in parliament and the Partygate scandal.

Eustice tried to steer the conversation away from the Conservative Party by raising allegations that Labour leader Keir Starmer had a lockdown beer and curry party. But the veteran broadcaster refused to be diverted.

Robinson also asked the cabinet minister about Tory MP Neil Parish who quit after he was accused of watching porn in the Commons chamber.

The BBC journalist said: “You are a farmer, there’s a family farm. Have you ever stumbled across porn when looking for a tractor?”

Eustice replied “no” and added: “Look Neil Parish, somebody I know and respect, has given an account and he’s resigned his seat for what happened.

“Clearly it was a big error of judgement what he did and I think he’s given an account of that...”

Neil Parish
Neil Parish
Matt Cardy via Getty Images

Eustice told Robinson his question was “flippant” before the broadcaster pressed him: “Do you not think that some of the things that are now being said to excuse and defend behaviour that in any other walk of life would persuade people to resign, if not to abjectly apologise whether it’s porn or parties, there is a danger that you are insulting people’s intelligence?”

The cabinet minister said Boris Johnson had paid his fixed penalty notice after a cake was brought into the cabinet room, adding: “He’s paid that fine...he’s apologised for that and we’ve seen allegations today about Keir Starmer attending a party...”

When Robinson interrupted him to say he was asking him about the Conservative Party, Eustice told him: “You’re asking a question about politics, Nick, and in the interest of balance you need to recognise that the leader of opposition is facing...”

Robinson hit back: “I don’t need any lectures from you about balance Mr Eustice, we interviewed Sir Keir all about it yesterday.”

The journalist later signed off the interview pointing out how every other major political party had put up their leader for an interview on the programme - except the Conservative Party.

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