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Politics Live meets with Bernard Jenkin, chair of the Liaison Committee and Member of Parliament for Harwich and North Essex, regarding the Prime Minister’s hearing last week

What did you think of the PM’s appearance before the Liaison Committee? Did he seem to be aware of the details and did you feel reassured? How did you find the overall tone compared to your predecessor’s sessions – and will the PM be back before the break?

He showed his human side, as he always does. He was focused on details related to Covid, and quite open to other topics he did not feel informed about, rather than pretending to know everything. Unlike some other prime ministers, he clearly hears the real question asked.

I am glad we pressed him on the issues of women and equality, and he understands that the government needs to improve this.

Some critics have argued that your appointment as president of LC would give Downing Street a friendly face in charge of debates. How do you respond to that? Do you think the PM and his advisers are completely open to the review?

I will be judged for my actions. Colleagues on the committee will be the final arbiters, because as chair, I am responsible to them.

Yes, the PM has shown that he is open to the exam, but can prove it by returning in July.

Control of advisers has always been more difficult, but constitutionally, it is clear that the investing minister is responsible for his political adviser, and the Prime Minister has not avoided this.

What did you think of the way the Cummings line was managed? Should he have resigned? Could it jeopardize compliance with the new directives?

I asked my questions about this and have nothing to add.

(For the record, Mr. Jenkin asked to what extent the dispute had undermined the government’s message – to which the Prime Minister did not respond – and why an investigation had not been opened. Boris Johnson said he was was a “reasonable question” but he did not want to deploy officials under these circumstances. You can read the full discussion here starting at 4:03 p.m.)



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