Nadhim Zahawi is the first government minister to explicitly say the word ‘sorry’ for all the mini-Budget chaos.
The chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was pushed into apologising by Talk TV presenter Piers Morgan on Question Time last night.
He started his attack by telling Mr Zahawi he had ‘great respect’ for the former chancellor of the exchequer.
He said: ‘You always used to come on Good Morning Britain when a lot of your colleagues wouldn’t.
‘And I would bellow away and you would just take it, and [that’s] great, and you were great on vaccines.
‘But for you, honestly, to sit there and try to defend this.’
But the pleasantries ended there as Mr Morgan said: ‘What I haven’t heard from any of you at senior level in this party in the last 10 days is one word, sorry – sorry to the country for what you have put the country through. Do you want to say it?’
The apology happened at the end of a heated exchange with Talk TV presenter Piers Morgan (Picture: BBC)
PM Liz Truss and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng had to make a U-turn on one of their tax cuts (Picture: EPA)
Mr Zahawi started with the Government’s go-to line about the whole mess – arguing that the U-turn was proof the Tories are a party which listens.
He said: ‘Liz said “I’ve listened and I get it”, which is why 95% of her economic policy, of her growth plan, she wanted to protect and she will deliver, and the 5% which was damaging she cut, you cut and you move forward.’
But he was cut short by Mr Morgan, who repeatedly asked him if he would apologise to the country.
‘It’s one word, and I think the public would value an apology,’ Mr Morgan said.
Mr Zahawi replied Vladimir Putin would want the country to be divided – which caused the audience to erupt into laughter.
Mr Morgan jaded: ‘You can’t say sorry because Vladimir Putin would like it?’
Presenter Fiona Bruce cut in, telling Mr Zahawi: ‘Nadhim, people are laughing at that, I just want to point that out.’
Mr Morgan then asked Mr Zahawi again if he was sorry, to which Mr Zahawi replied: ‘Of course I’m sorry, absolutely’.
But he made sure to add: ‘By the way there’s nothing wrong with saying, “I get it, I’ve listened, and I’ve acted, and 95% of what I want to do I’m going to deliver, and I’ll drop the 5%,” that’s a good thing.’
The closest any other minister has come to apologising is when chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng told BBC Breakfast he had the ‘humility to say look, we got it wrong and we are not going to proceed with the abolition of the rate’.
He said: ‘We’ve listened to people. And yeah, there is humility and contrition in that. And I’m happy to own it.’
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