Joe Lycett sarcastically praises Liz Truss for her 'reassurance' during Tory leadership campaign

BBC

It’s been quite the week for Joe Lycett, after he decided to appear on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg last week as a “very right-wing” comedian praising an interview given by the new prime minister, Liz Truss.

Lycett, who has in fact been critical of the Conservative government in the past, faked enthusiasm for Ms Truss’ performance on the new political programme by saying he “loved it” and “thought she gave great clear answers”.

He insisted to Kuenssberg that he was not “being sarcastic”. He very much was.

And in turn, things soon snowballed. The Daily Mailled the next day’s paper with the headline “Now BBC comic mocks Liz Truss”, ticket sales for the comedian’s current tour reportedly “exploded”, and one Tory MP even ranted about Lycett’s stunt during a session of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Steve Brine, who represents Winchester, shared his thoughts on the funny man’s comments while questioning one of the meeting’s witnesses, BBC director Tim Davie.

Mr Brine said: “I would say that [Kuenssberg’s] show got off to a challenging start in terms of major appeal outside of SW1, and on this whole issue of impartiality, by the Joe Lycett debacle.

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“He was asked on as a pundit, he did this mock applause after Liz Truss left the interview chair, was then immediately asked for his reaction and he said, ‘She was the dregs of what they’ve got available and the backwash of the available MPs.’”

Except that wasn’t exactly what Lycett had said on the programme, instead claiming “the haters will say that we’ve had 12 years of the Tories and that we’re sort of at the dregs of what they’ve got available”.

“I wouldn’t say that because I’m incredibly right-wing, but some people might say that,” he clarified.

Nevertheless, Mr Brine wasn’t having it, and told Mr Davie: “How about a conversation that goes on before output, where somebody says, ‘You know what, new show, new start, new term. Let’s not book Joe, because we know what Joe’s going to deliver’.

“You see, somebody who’s ungenerous to the BBC could say you know exactly what Joe is going to deliver and that’s why you booked him.”

But on Saturday, Lycett decided to clap back in a post on his Instagram page, expressing his excitement at his new 3D printer.

He wrote: “Normally when I’m painting, I listen to podcasts or the radio, but this [design] was done whilst I watched a parliamentary select committee with the BBC bosses in which MP Steve Brine, in a somewhat Brentian performance, coined the phrase, ‘the Joe Lycett debacle’ and suggested comedians like me shouldn’t be booked on BBC political shows.

“I expect Mr Brine was embarrassed that his political input had not been as impactful or emphatic as mine in supporting our dear leader Ms Truss, with his tweet congratulating her garnering retweets in the sub-100 region, whereas mine did well over 8,000.”

Lycett then jokingly suggested one way in which the Tory MP could “console” himself: by recognising the fact “he has impact elsewhere”.

“Such as the Houses of Parliament, where as an MP, he votes on legislation such as being against gay marriage, against raising welfare benefits, against increasing regulation of gambling laws, and against measures reducing climate change to name a few.

“Regardless, we’re all on the same side and backing the right horse now, plus it sounds like the BBC won’t be having me back anytime soon, which is to be expected of those liberal leftie t******.”

Brine’s voting record shows that he voted against allowing same sex couples to marry in 2013. He then voted to permit same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland in 2019.

Indy100 has approached Mr Brine’s parliamentary office for comment.

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