BBC’s David Dimbleby snaps at Tory MP for saying his party suffered more in the Troubles


BBC veteran David Dimbleby snapped tonight at a Tory MP who said the Conservatives suffered “disproportionately” during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Question Time audience members in Leeds applauded after the host confronted Tory Vice Chairman James Cleverly.

Ex-Territorial Army Major Mr Cleverly, 48, made the claim after his party was accused of jeopardising the peace process over Brexit .

He said he used to check under his car for explosives on his hands and knees every time he drove it.

“My party has disproportionately suffered the impact of terrorism from the Troubles in Northern Ireland,” he added.

But to applause Mr Dimbleby said: “I can’t think you meant it when you said your party suffered.

“The people of Northern Ireland surely are the people who suffered.”

“My party has disproportionately suffered the impact of terrorism from the Troubles in Northern Ireland,” James Cleverly said

Mr Dimbleby said: “Peace in Northern Ireland, surely, is not a party political issue!”

Mr Cleverly insisted his comment was about the harm “amongst political parties,” adding: “Some of my previous colleagues were murdered.”

Clearly frustrated Mr Dimbleby hit back: “But peace in Northern Ireland, surely, is not a party political issue!”

Violence during the Troubles claimed the lives of several Conservatives including Airey Neave, who was shadow Northern Ireland secretary when his car was blown up in 1979.

The Brighton bomb during the 1984 Tory conference killed five people including Conservative MP Sir Anthony Berry.

Airey Neave was one Tory MP killed by Republican terrorists

Another Tory MP, Ian Gow, was killed outside his home in 1990.

Theresa May has promised there will be no return to border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic post-Brexit.

Yet the UK and Brussels are still locked in a stand-off about the issue with just a year to go until Britain leaves the EU.

Mr Cleverly insisted his party would “move heaven and earth” to protect peace.

But Labour’s shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti said: “I have not heard a solution to this question of whether there’s going to be a hard border.”



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