Kay Burley interviewed Jeremy Hunt ahead of his speech for the Conservative Party conference
Kay Burley clashed repeatedly with chancellor Jeremy Hunt this morning as he refused to be drawn on key Conservative policies during their interview.
Speaking to Hunt before his speech at the Tory conference in Manchester, the Sky News host ended up saying: “What are people actually voting for, if you can’t tell them?”
Burley first tried to push him on HS2, asking if a decision had been made on whether to cut any part of the railway line, but Hunt just said: “As chancellor, you would expect me to answer the question.”
Burley said: “Yes, please.”
Hunt replied: “The question is, why does it cost 10 times more to build a high-speed rail line in Britain compared to France?”
Burley just said, “please answer my question,” but Hunt said HS2 news would be announced at an “appropriate time”.
After more back and forth, he said: “You’re trying to draw me on what that decision might be.”
“That’s my job. It’s your job not to answer the question!” The Sky News anchor pushed again.
The chancellor replied: “It’s my job to say we will make the announcement at the appropriate time, and we will.”
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt says on HS2 annoucement that "we will have to wait" on the government's decision https://t.co/PAiZ4D1jU3
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They then moved onto tax cuts, but Burley added a quick jibe: “I asked you about HS2 and you won’t tell me!”
Hunt ignored that comment, and said cutting taxes right now would be inflationary.
He added he doesn’t have a “crystal ball” to know what would happen with the economy.
When Burley then tried to push for clarity on the triple lock, he just repeatedly said that this would just be announced in the Autumn Statement.
“You’re very brilliantly trying to get me to pre-empt the Autumn Statement,” he said, while insisting that he was not “hiding” the Tory plans, but claiming he was just waiting on the numbers from the Office of Budget Responsibility.
The journalist then asked if inflation does go down to 3%, would the government trigger a snap election?
Hunt said that was “a matter for the prime minister”, only for Burley to point out: “You live next door!”
The chancellor said Rishi Sunak just wanted to get on with putting the country on the right track.
Burley tried a new tactic: “What about inheritance tax, what are you going to do about that?”
Hunt said inheritance tax is in the “basket of all tax cuts” adding: “We’re just not in a position to talk about big tax cuts.”
Burley pushed: “You don’t have a lot of time left.”
He just deflected her question by saying: “You’re asking me to look into a crystal ball which I don’t have.”
Hunt claimed he will be explaining the government’s “difficult path” to lower taxes at the Conservative conference.
Exasperated, Burley asked: “What are people actually voting for, if you can’t tell them?”
The chancellor hit back: “They’re voting because I’m telling them the truth.”
The anchor pointed out: “You might be able to get a cut in your taxes at some time in the future, but I can’t tell you when that is, please vote for me anyway?”
“I think you underestimate the British people,” Hunt claimed.
“I don’t think I do,” Burley laughed.
The chancellor still would not be drawn, and just replied: “Yeah, they understand how difficult these decisions are, they don’t want a chancellor who stands up and says, ‘there’s an easy route to motherhood and apple pie.’
“They understand there are no shortcuts. They want to see are you showing me credibly what needs to be done if you’re going to bring down my taxes.
“And that’s what I’ll be doing.”