'Frankly Embarrassing': How Rishi Sunak's Local Radio Round Fell Flat

A listener asked: "Whatever happened to your promise of integrity, professionalism and accountability?"
Rishi Sunak had eight local radio interviews this morning.
Rishi Sunak had eight local radio interviews this morning.
WPA Pool via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak’s broadcast interviews with local journalists have done little to impress the nation this morning, with one listener calling his performance “frankly embarrassing”.

It’s tradition for prime ministers to embark on a media round with local news stations in England prior to the annual Conservative conference, which starts this Sunday in Manchester.

Last year, Sunak’s predecessor Liz Truss caused a stir after a series of car crash interviews over her disastrous mini-budget.

Speaking to York, West Midlands, Manchester, Shropshire, Tees, Three Counties, Cornwall and Berkshire radios, the prime minister faced tough questions about his latest policy decisions.

Here’s a look at some of the stand-out moments from this morning, and the response he received online.


The prime minister dodged questions on the much-delayed rail network and speculation the line from Birmingham to Manchester is being dropped.

He just told BBC Radio Manchester: “We already have spades in the ground [on the London to Birmingham leg] and we are getting on with it.”

Sunak started to talk about how the government was fixing potholes instead, suggesting that roads were more important to the public than rails.

The frustrated presenter, Anna Jameson, then pointed out: “We’re talking about trains, we’re not talking about cars.”

Regional inequality

BBC Radio Shropshire plays a question from a member of public who suggests rural communities have been ignored by the government, claiming: “We always seem to be last for hospitals and public transport.”

Host Adam Green then asked the PM: “Have rural communities been left behind by 13 years of Conservative government? Buses, social care, poor broadband or access to healthcare are made worse because of rurality?”

Sunak just deflected to his net zero announcement last week which delayed the ban on new petrol and diesel cars.

BBC Radio Manchester also paid a viral clip from last year, where Sunak can be overheard telling Tunbridge Wells constituents that he had moved funding from deprived urban regions.

His only response was that he doesn’t want to “pit one region against another”, claiming: “I want to spread opportunity everywhere.”

Child poverty

BBC Radio Tees’ Amy Oakden told Sunak how one in every five children in the north-east are growing up in poverty, and described it as a “grim indictment on 13 years of Conservative government”.

The PM just said that the government has made progress since 2010 when it came to poverty.

Sunak’s general demeanour

Away from his responses to individual policies, the PM also came under fire for his attitude towards scrutiny...


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