24 Feb 2015

Green party chief admits to ‘excruciating’ interview

Green party leader Natalie Bennett gives what she describes as a “very difficult” interview to LBC radio on her plans for social housing.

It’s a question facing every political party as the days drip away before the general election on 7 May – can your policies really work?

It was a question the Green party struggled mightily with today, as its leader Natalie Bennett was caught on the backfoot in an interview with LBC.

Tweeters who heard the encounter said it was a “car crash” interview, branded the “worst party leader interview ever given” by some outlets.

So just how bad was it?

listen to ‘Incredibly Awkward Interview With Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett’ on audioBoom
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This was the promise she was grilled on: “By building more social rented homes and bringing abandoned buildings back into use we will ensure that everyone has a secure and affordable place to live.”

Question – how exactly will you make it happen?

“We want to build 500,000 new social rent homes,” she replied.

When asked where the money would come from, she continued: “What we want to do is fund that particularly by removing tax relief on mortgage interests for private landlords.”

But she was unable to give precise figures of how much that would bring in, saying repeatedly that the number was “part of the whole costing”.

She then estimated that 500,000 new homes would cost £2.7bn (actually, it’s £30bn).

But that value did not appear to include the cost of land needed to build the homes on.

She also floated her policy of investing the mortgage relief brought in by private landlords, which she estimated at £4.5bn a year – a figure scoffed at by Mr Ferrari, before she tried to move the interview on to other subjects.

Ms Bennett later admitted to the BBC: “That interview didn’t work, but the way our society is now isn’t working.”

Caroline Lucas, the Green party’s only MP, told Channel 4 News: “Someone had a bad day, it happens.”

She went on: “I’d rather be sat here talking about this than talking about a Jack Straw or Sir Malcolm Rifkind. That’s the real problem.”

So was this an environmentally friendly car crash, or a world-ending disaster for the Green party? Only time will tell.