Mishal Husain Swears 6 Times On Today Programme In Row Over James Cleverly's Language

Listeners may have been surprised to hear "sh*t" so many times on the morning BBC programme.
Mishal Husain probed James Cleverly on the Today programme
Mishal Husain probed James Cleverly on the Today programme

Mishal Husain said “shit” six times on the Today programme on Tuesday morning, as she pressed James Cleverly over his own language.

The Radio 4 presenter repeated the surprising word as she clashed with the home secretary over exactly how he has been caught using it recently.

Since being appointed as home secretary in November, Cleverly has come under fire three times over his leaked comments, as Husain noted, where he has been accused of saying offensive things.

She said: “There have been a number of times recently where things you have said have got you into trouble.”

Husain referred to the occasion – which Cleverly has not denied – where he called the Rwanda scheme “batshit”, and a separate occasion when he was overhead in the Commons allegedly talking about Stockton.

Husain explained: “There was the time you reported government policy was ‘batshit’, there was the personal place you referred to in parliament that was a ‘shithole’.”

“No I didn’t,” the home secretary quickly hit back.

Cleverly said he “absolutely” did not say that, adding: “You need to do better research. I’ve made it very very clear that what I said, I was referring to an individual.”

The home secretary has previously claimed he actually called the Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, a “shit MP”.

Husain pushed: “You used the word shit, didn’t you?”

“Yes I did. The point is, what you just accused me of was very, very different – and completely wrong,” Cleverly replied.

The presenter said: “OK – fine. You did say that you called a person a shit. Other people heard different things.”

“No, you can’t do that,” Cleverly cut in as the two spoke over each other.

Raising her voice, Husain noted: “You’ve just clarified this – I’m reflecting what you’re saying.”

“In which case, why did you make that last comment?” Cleverly asked.

The host replied: “Other people said they heard shithole, you’re saying you said shit. Fine.”

The home secretary replied: “No, other people can only hear what I said. I know what I said.”

Husain persisted: “And other people heard something else.”

“No they didn’t they couldn’t have, that’s not how science works,” Cleverly hit back.

“OK I understand,” Husain conceded, before trying to move the interview on – to Cleverly’s recent joke about using a date-rape drug.

She asked: “What’s going on? Why is it so often in a short space of time that you’ve ended up having to either apologise to clarify or to go over things that you’ve said?”

Cleverly said he had already apologised for that joke and that he took the protection of women and girls very seriously.

It’s worth noting the BBC does not actually ban the use of any word or phrase, but it must be “editorially justified”.

Watch their tense exchange below:


What's Hot