In Defence Of Emily Thornberry

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry was caught in an altercation with Sky News presenter Dermont Murnghanan yesterday morning when Thornberry accused Murnghanan of “pub quizzing” her on specific names of foriegn politicians. Including a question if she knew the gender of the South Korean President, somewhat odd for a serious interview.

Thornberry has since defended her retort claiming she’s had to “fight so hard” to be taken seriously by Murnaghan even though he runs a serious political news segment. Yet the questions to specifically name or gender foriegn politicians suggest otherwise. For good measure Murnghanan switched to antisemitism in the Labour party, reinforcing a common MSM narrative, can an interivew really be taken seriously after that?

Thornberry assumed the attacks against her to be of a sexist nature, which they might be, however this style of questioning is more widely applied to left-wing politicans. This was very apparent surrounding the general election where Labour, the Greens, SNP & Plaid Cymru were regularly demanded to produce costed plans and detailed explainations for how every policy would work, with often pre-scripted responses from journalists hoping to trap their pray. Conservatives such as David Cameron on the other hand were allowed to make promises and explain with rhetoric rather than scientific factual detail of how a policy would practically work (7-day NHS anyone?). The former style of interviewing is a lot more aggressive and difficult to handle. Emily Thornberry is absolutely correct when she states that the type of questions put to her were not the type of questions asked to that of Boris Johnson, David Davis, or Liam Fox.


Thornberry has said: “Demot and I, I have to admit, have a bit of history. When I was first made shadow defence secretary I remember getting loads of questions about ‘what do you know about defence, you know nothing about defence’, questions I have to say were never asked of [Conservative defence secretary] Michael Fallon… Then I would go onto Murnaghan and he would asking me about ‘what’s Defcon 4’ and it was as if I was kind of needing to get permission to be heard.”

When you come to think of it, have you ever heard a Conservative minister really challenged on their knowledge of the ministerial position they were assigned? When was the last time Jeremy Hunt was asked which types of medical professional are required for a heart surgery? When was the last time Michael Fallon was asked about Defcon 4 in an interview? Or Phillip Hammond on basic economic principles?

A quick watch of the ‘meltdown’ section.


Relaxed, calm, given time to clearly explain.


Do you think Emily Thornberry has a point? Particularly with regard to the flow of the interview, the style of questioning and the interviewers attitude towards her?



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