Politics

Greg Hands' top five gaffes from Friday morning’s media round

Tory trade minister says Kwasi Kwarteng is 'an incredibly capable person'
Indy

It is a tricky old business, politics.

Defending policies to scrutinising journalists, running around different broadcast studios in the morning to sit down and take a bollocking - it can't be easy.

So when Rishi Sunak supporter turned Department of International Trade minister in Liz Truss's (not Sunak's) government, Greg Hands, was called up to tell the media that what appears to be a sorry bunch of plonkers running the country into the ground are doing just fine actually thank you for asking, he must have been bricking it.

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For good reason to as, from defending the chancellor to tossing a word salad to justify his changing political loyalties, he had a bit of a bad day.

Here are his top clangers:

When he defended Kwasi Kwarteng

Chancellor Kwarteng is coming back from a US trip to the International Monetary Fund meeting a day earlier than intended to have talks with the PM. People are speculating all sorts, that there could be more u-turns coming or that his position in government is not safe.

"He has been there for two days," Hands insisted on Sky News after he was asked about what was going on before listing groups Kwarteng had had meetings with and saying it is "not unusual" to return from a trip early.

"He's an incredibly capable person," he added, shutting down any suggestion that the chancellor's position is untenable.

We'll see about that.

When he failed to rule out further u-turns

A lot has been made of Truss's embarrassing u-turns that have punctuated her first few weeks in power. When the economy was looking a bit ropey thanks to Kwarteng's 'fiscal statement', they cancelled planned tax changes for instance, but the government's economic policy is still being picked apart by experts who think it sounds like a load of crap and there are rumours that further u-turns could be on the cards.

Asked about the issue on Sky News, Hands said: "We are just going to have to wait and see" what the chancellor announces next, like a music promoter hyping up a new album, not, you know, a government minister.

When his old tweets about Rishi Sunak came up

Hands backed Sunak in the Tory leadership race. During the summer while campaigning for Sunak, he tweeted not backing the former chancellor's policies would be "recklessly irresponsible" and called Truss's economics "fairytale economics".

He also took to the social media site to say "borrowing and spending is not the Conservative way" before taking a job in a government committed to borrowing and spending.

That's right. And now Hands is in the government he is bound to defend its decisions to the media, putting him in an awkward squeeze indeed when the BBC's Nick Robinson decided to read Hands his old tweets about Sunak and Truss.

So how did Hands try to worm his way out of the bind, armed with nothing but a command of the English language?

Well, he claimed the government's economic policies were "not the same" as those put forward during the leadership race and went on about how good Truss's energy crisis package is as well.

"You are insulting people's intelligence... you are now defending a series of policies, that you condemned as fairy tales", Robinson said in response to his desperate blubbering.

Social media had a field day:

When he blamed Ed Miliband for the energy crisis

Hands also did what all good Tories like to do this morning, blame the Labour Party for Tory Britain. He told LBC: "I like Ed Miliband but he has got a lot to answer for” when asked about the energy crisis.

When Miliband appeared on the show later and was played the clip, he looked completely baffled, and rightly so:

When he made us all feel really confident about the economy

Meanwhile, speaking to GB News, Hands said the government were having important talks to get debt down so it sounds like we are in good hands, if you pardon the pun. But "our debt is too high but it is not the highest in the G7 in fact it is the second lowest" he also said, as if possessed by Pollyanna.

That's good then.

You've got to hand it to him, Hands kept going even though he was having an absolute nightmare.

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