Rishi Sunak Gets Snappy With Journalists As He Faces Nadhim Zahawi Questions

He told Sky News' Beth Rigby to "keep them quick" and scolded reporters for asking two questions.
Prime minister Rishi Sunak
Prime minister Rishi Sunak
BBC News

Rishi Sunak appeared to grow impatient with journalists as they quizzed him over the Nadhim Zahawi scandal.

The prime minister told Sky News’ Beth Rigby to “keep them quick” on a visit to County Durham to discuss emergency care.

He also complained that some journalists had asked two questions during the media Q&A session.

However, ITV’s Robert Peston hit back telling Sunak he had not answered his question.

Sunak is still facing uncomfortable questions over former Tory chairman Zahawi who he sacked yesterday morning.

The prime minister dismissed him for a “serious breach of the ministerial code” two hours after receiving a report by ethics adviser Sir Laurie Magnus.

However, the sacking has failed to draw a line under the affair with questions remaining over what Sunak knew about Zahawi’s tax affairs and when.

Following a Q&A session with health workers, Rigby kicked off media questions saying: “Prime minister, I’ve got two questions if I may...”

But Sunak interrupted telling her to “keep them quick” before she asked him about ambulance waiting times and whether he was frustrated by Zahawi’s conduct.

Sunak told her followed the right process over Zahawi but did not directly answer her question on whether he would re-commit to the standard ambulance wait time returning to 18 minutes for a Category 2 call.

When she tried to press him, he told her: “Look, Beth, you’ve had two, I really need to try and get round a few others.”

ITV’s Robert Peston was up next who asked him: “Johnson, Hancock, Braverman, Zahawi, I have probably missed a few, why are so many people at the top of your party finding it so difficult to follow the rules?”

Sunak told him he had talked about it in the previous question before going on to speak about the NHS.

However, Peston hit back: “Why is there so much rule breaking? You honestly didn’t answer the question.”

Sunak told him: “As I addressed before, Robert, the things that happened before I was prime minister, I can’t do anything about.

“What I think you can hold me to account for is how I deal with the things that arise on my watch.”

He answered some more questions on integrity in government and defence spending before saying: “I think we have we have one question from the Northern Echo. Is that right?

“Is it? Who’s here? Someone? I’m getting waved at, this better be the last one right? OK, fine.

“We’ve massively gone over, sorry. And you guys all having two questions each it doesn’t help.”

In his resignation letter, Zahawi attacked the media’s coverage but making no reference to his tax affairs.

He wrote that he was “concerned” about the “conduct from some of the fourth estate in recent weeks”.


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