Richard Burgon, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, stood in for Jeremy Corbyn, as the leader and Prime Minister Boris Johnson opted not to attend the ITV debate on Sunday evening. But, during the debate, the Labour MP was mocked online after he suffered an embarrassing moment. The politician was quizzed over Labour’s NHS record in Wales, by Adam Price, and had “nothing to say” back to the Plaid Cymru leader, except pull a huge smirk.
The ITV audience burst into laughter as the Labour politician realised he needed to answer the grilling from Mr Price.
CCHQ wrote on Twitter: “Oh dear – Burgon has nothing to say when asked to defend the record of the Welsh Labour government running the NHS in Wales #ITVDebate”
Mr Price started the clash by asking Mr Burgon: “Why is it, when you are in government in Wales, you’re not implementing, we have free social care in Scotland, why can’t we have it in Wales?
“You are talking about a national health and social care service free at the point of need for social care in Wales.
ITV debate: Richard Burgon mocked after on-air smirk
Richard Burgon was quizzed on the show
Oh dear – Burgon has nothing to say when asked to defend the record of the Welsh Labour government running the NHS in Wales
“You could do it in Wales now. Why don’t you?”
Mr Burgon responded by insisting Britain needs “an end to austerity” as he blamed the Conservatives for the problems in Wales.
Mr Price snapped back: “You keep on saying Richard how disappointed you are with me, not half as disappointed as I am with your Government in Wales.
“If it’s possible in Scotland, answer me this. Why is it not possible in Wales where you are the party of Government?”
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Mr Burgon paused before he bizarrely smirked at the Plaid Cymru leader.
As he looked back at the host, Julie Etchingham, the presenter pressed Mr Burgon on “why it wasn’t possible”.
But the host was interrupted by the ITV audience who burst out laughing at the reaction from the Labour frontbencher.
Mr Burgon then appeared flustered as he said: “Well there have been huge cuts.”
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Adam Price quizzed the Labour MP
The audience appeared to be applauding the host, interrupting the Labour politician and forcing him to re-start his point. Mr Burgon said: “There have been huge cuts to Wales from the Government in Westminster.
“There have been big achievements from the Welsh Government, in relation to the NHS.”
The Labour frontbencher was quickly cut off by the presenter who insisted the politician’s answers “needed to be brief”.
But, viewers quickly took to social media to comment on the smirk from Mr Burgon.
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One wrote: “Richard Burgon’s reaction to a really simple question shows the lack of competence Labour has.”
Another added: “Richard Burgon has had a calamitous car crash tonight. One of Labour’s biggest mistakes of the campaign, is sending him to this debate. This is going to hurt Labour.”
A third added: “Best moment in the #ITVDebate – Richard Burgon’s blank face when Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price lands a killer blow (Labour are in power in Wales and failing)”.
Another quipped: “Fair to say that Richard Burgon has lost this audience.”
A fifth wrote: “Richard Burgon face didn’t have an answer. Oh dear Richard Burgon just got destroyed by the Welsh guy.”
Jeremy Corbyn didn’t attend the ITV debate
One Twitter user explained: “To be fair, he was caught between waiting to speak, and not knowing that he could speak – which made him pull a stupid face. When he did answer, he was limited to a three second reply.”
The ITV debate was hosted by Julie Etchingham as politicians answered questions from a selected studio audience before debating between themselves.
Richard Burgon represented the Labour Party, with Jeremy Corbyn absent, while Rishi Sunak represented the Conservative Party with Boris Johnson also absent.
Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrats leader, Nicola Sturgeon the Scottish National Party leader, Nigel Farage the Brexit Party leader, Sian Berry the Green Party co-leader and Adam Price the Plaid Cymru leader all joined the debate.