Question Time audience member fumes over ‘white men’ comment - but forgets one thing

Question Time audience member fumes over ‘white men’ comment - but forgets one thing
Question Time audience asked if they support the Tory governments Rwanda policy
BBC Question Time

The occasionally chaotic BBC debate programme that is Question Time offered up another wild moment on Thursday, when the panel turned to the sensitive subject of abortion laws in the UK.

The latest edition of the show, which was broadcast from an area of towns and villages near the Welsh-English border known as Deeside, touched upon the court case concerning 44-year-old Carla Foster, who was jailed for 28 months this week under legislation passed all the way back in 1861.

Ms Foster admitted illegally obtaining tablets during lockdown to initiate an abortion when she was between 32 and 34 weeks pregnant.

Abortion is still criminalised in the UK, with the procedure generally only considered legal before 24 weeks. They are carried out in clinics after 10 weeks of pregnancy.

After members of the panel – which was, as always, moderated by presenter Fiona Bruce – discussed the issue under the question, “are Victorian abortion laws appropriate in 2023”, the question was opened up to audience members to contribute.

One unnamed white man, in a white shirt, chipped in: “Is not anyone going to speak up for the unborn child, though, if it was near eight months, when perfectly healthy babies can be born at six and seven months and eight months? Not one person has spoken up about the child.”

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The man also stated it was right for Ms Foster to be jailed, adding “if there’s a week’s limit, there’s a week’s limit” and “it is death and that is the law”.

While David TC Davies MP, the Welsh secretary, said the law was “clearly broken” and there is “no doubt about that”, Labour peer and former member of Tony Blair’s cabinet David Blunkett had a different take.

He began: “Maturing white men are not always the best people to make judgements on this, but given that I am…”

However, the previous audience member interrupted him: “I take issue with the comment. What does my colour have to do with the debate? That is a disgusting comment.”

Lord Blunkett clarified: “I was talking about myself. I am the maturing white male, and I am very diffident.

“I took part in the Embryology Bill debate 30 years ago. It was difficult then and it’s really difficult now, and the thing I fully agree with, is that we mustn’t Americanise this really sensitive debate.

“It isn’t for or against; it’s getting it right.”

When Bruce brought the debate – and indeed, the show – to a close, Lord Blunkett went on to add: “Can I make one thing very clear, it is a small point: for the audience who don’t know me, I wasn’t making a point earlier about the man’s colour.

“How could I? I can’t see you.”

The awkward exchange has since trended on Twitter, with social media users ridiculing the audience member’s knee-jerk reaction:


As the audience applauded Lord Blunkett’s response, the cameras cut to the man in question smiling and clapping the politician.

Glad that’s settled, then.

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