'This Is Ridiculous': Tory Chairman Richard Holden In Extraordinary Clash With Sky Reporter

He repeatedly ignored questions about the controversial way he was chosen as an election candidate.

Tory chairman Richard Holden was involved in an extraordinary clash with a Sky News reporter after repeatedly dodging questions about the way he was chosen as an election candidate.

A Conservative Party press officer had to eventually step in to end the interview with Jon Craig as the camera continued to roll.

Tory bosses have been accused of a “stitch-up” after he was effectively imposed on the Basildon and Billericay constituency shortly before the selection deadline.

Holden had been on the lookout for a seat after his previous North West Durham constituency was abolished.

In the interview with Jon Craig today, he refused to answer questions on the row and instead tried to attack Labour’s Emily Thornberry over comments she made this morning on education.

The exasperated journalist said: “So you can’t justify the way you have been parachuted into Basildon and Billericay. You’re not denying it’s a stitch-up and it’s anti-democratic?”

Holden began to say: “Emily Thornberry has today admitted ...”

But Craig interrupted him to say: “I’m going to stop you now, this is ridiculous. You said in an interview earlier this year that you were ‘bloody loyal’ to the north east. What happened to that?”

Holden replied: “Jon, I’ve already answered these questions.”

The reporter hit back: “No you haven’t.”

Craig told him that he was conducting a so-called “pool interview”, meaning he was doing it on behalf of several broadcasters.

Off camera, the press officer could be heard claiming the other channels had agreed not to ask about the selection row.

But Craig told him: “Nobody agreed that at all.”

The press officer eventually said: “If that’s the way this is going to go, we’ll just leave because that’s not what we agreed to come here today to discuss.”

A Labour source said: “The Conservatives have spent another day in total chaos - running and ducking from scrutiny. They know their desperate, scattergun plans don’t stack up and think they can take the public for fools.”


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