You can spot them easily – those moments when a politician wishes he had never agreed to a particular interview. He ends up being provoked by Paxman, harassed by Humphrys…or put through the wringer by a 16-year-old schoolgirl.
Such was the fate of Nick Gibb, Conservative Education Minister, on the BBC’s One Show yesterday.
He was being questioned by a Liverpool schoolgirl, Elli Long, about the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance, which is paid out to poorer pupils to help them stay on at school.
First, he finds himself floundering when she asks why EMA is being abolished. “It wasn’t our intention to make these decisions” is his desperate reply.
Then comes the killer question. “Do you think it’s fair that I lose a hundred per cent of my income?” The panic is barely suppressed as he stammers towards a reply, his hands clenched in agony.
Well worth watching if only to prove the point that it’s the simple question that can be the most deadly.
Well done, Elli. Move over, Jeremy.