CITY MP Penny Mordaunt came under attack last night over firefighters’ pensions when she appeared on a political TV debate.
Self-styled revolutionary and comedian Russell Brand took aim at the Tory Portsmouth North MP on BBC1’s Question Time.
The pair were on the panel with Ukip leader Nigel Farage, Labour Wakefield MP Mary Creagh and Sunday Times columnist Camilla Cavendish.
Brand said: ‘The reason I said I don’t vote is I don’t see the interests of ordinary people being represented.
‘My mate ... works for the Fire Brigades Union – he can’t get his voice heard.
‘Old Penny there is presiding over legislation that means firemen are going to have to work an extra five years.
‘They’re really tired from going into burning buildings and they want them to do another five years.
‘This is an agenda that is not met by politicians as we understand them.’
And Brand interrupted Ms Mordaunt as she was making a point about Punch and Judy politics.
She said: ‘Although I don’t agree with – apart from my admiration of firefighters – much that Russell...’
Brand quipped: ‘Pay their pensions then love. Excuse the sexist language, I’m working on that.’
He quickly apologised for interrupting Ms Mordaunt, who took time to point out Brand has 9m Twitter follows while Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has 117,000 when he was rebuked by Ms Creagh.
Ms Mordaunt pledged on air that if she retains her seat in parliament next year she will not accept any pay rise.
An audience member had asked her why MPs took 11 per cent while nurses had received one per cent.
Ms Mordaunt said: ‘It’s my decision to take it or not.
‘I haven’t voted a pay rise through and I won’t take one.’
Shouting at Mr Farage and calling him a scum bag, an audience member at the event in Canterbury stopped the overcrowding debate.
The woman – believed to be called Bunny la Roche – shouted at Mr Farage before Ms Mordaunt, saying people should not be able to take out before contributing.
But Ms Mordaunt said migrants give a net contribution to the economy.
She added: ‘They are helping the economy to get it back on its feet again.’
Labour MP Mary Creagh said firms should train British youngsters for jobs.
Columnist Camilla Cavendish said controlled immigration helps the country. Mr Farage said government cannot plan with an open door policy.
Panellists clash over grammar schools and education
GRAMMAR schools should be allowed to expand but no new ones can open in the country.
That was MP Penny Mordaunt’s message as she backed Tory policy on TV last night.
It put her in direct contradiction with Ukip’s Nigel Farage who argues for a grammar school in every town in the land.
He said: ‘One of the biggest social mistakes we’ve made in the last 50 years is the wanton destruction of hundreds of superb grammar schools.’ Russell Brand said there should be ‘proper education for all.’ The panel also discussed NHS privatisation.
Social media backlash over TV appearance
PEOPLE using social media gave an instant reaction to Penny Mordaunt’s appearance on TV last night.
The Portsmouth North MP was criticised for not answering questions and not communicating well.
People posting on The News’ Facebook page did not rate the MP’s contribution highly.
Naomi ‘Mimi’ Kelly said: ‘I don’t think she really came across too well.’
Referring to the recent scandal over the MP’s use of lewd language in the Commons – which was mentioned briefly last night – Mark Chapman said: ‘Lack of clarity, stumbling through, repeatedly tells us that debates and politics should be taken seriously yet her hypocrisy was clearly demonstrated regarding her hen welfare debate speech.’
Matthew Ainsworth said: ‘It’s all about Ukip.’
On Twitter Keisha Thompson said: ‘This Penny Mordaunt really needs to sort out her public speaking. Sending me to sleep every time she talks.’
Sam Aiston said: ‘Think Penny Mordaunt is brave coming on Question Time! I’d be hiding away out of embarrassment.’
But she did receive some support, with Joshua Lachkovic posting: ‘Penny Mordaunt weirdly coming out on top.’
Labour’s John Ferrett, who is opposing Ms Mordaunt in her constituency, posted: ‘Tonight has certainly sharpened my appetite for the forthcoming hustings.’
Stuart McCall said: ‘Penny Mordaunt managed to go the entire Question Time without ever answering a question.’