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Joe Lycett: BBC and Laura Kuenssberg told him they wanted the show to go in a ‘different direction’

Joe Lycett has defended his appearance on Laura Kuenssberg’s first BBC Sunday show, saying her team told him they wanted the show “to go in a slightly different direction”.

It comes after the comedian sparked backlash for his comments about Liz Truss, in which he appeared to mock her and insist he was “incredibly right-wing”, with the BBC being criticized for booking.

Speaking to Matt Chorley on Times Radio Monday morning, Lycett said: “I really don’t think they’re upset about it.

“I spoke to Laura and her team before and they said they wanted to go in a slightly different direction.

“They wanted to try and do it from different angles somehow.”

Joe Lycett (pictured) on Times Radio on Monday morning, where he defended the comments he made with Laura Kuenssberg on the BBC's main political program on Sunday

Joe Lycett (pictured) on Times Radio on Monday morning, where he defended the comments he made with Laura Kuenssberg on the BBC’s main political program on Sunday

Lycett doubled down on the comments he made yesterday, continuing: “I suppose they may not have realized I’m really right wing now that I think they may have thought I was left wing.

“I’ve, you know, changed my views over the years.

“But Liz Truss too, you know, she was a Lib Dem, now she’s a Tory, she was Remainer, now she’s a Brexiteer.

“People change their minds.

“And you have to keep up with it.

“So yeah, I think maybe they were a bit surprised that I’m incredibly right now. But it happens, doesn’t it?

“Someone said that every year you get older you become eight percent more right. So I think I just skipped it?’

Lycett also told the presenter that Liz Truss “got up faster than she was told” after the interview.

He continued: “Apparently she got up quicker than she was told.

“My BBC source said that – and this is a direct quote – she had ‘a face like a slap in the face’.

“Well, I don’t know if, I didn’t know what that meant.

“But I would be very sad if I made Liz Truss sad in any way because she is my favorite politician.

“And I’m thrilled that she’s becoming prime minister.”

Joe Lycett said:

Joe Lycett said: “She was very clear in what she said. I think you know exactly what’s going to happen. I’m calm, you’re calm, are you calm?’

Joe Lycett (pictured) outside the BBC in central London yesterday after his performance with Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday

Joe Lycett (pictured) outside the BBC in central London yesterday after his performance with Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday

Laura Kuenssberg was joined by Boris Johnson's former deputy chief of staff, Cleo Watson, Joe Lycett and Labor frontbencher Emily Thornberry (left to right).

Laura Kuenssberg was joined by Boris Johnson’s former deputy chief of staff, Cleo Watson, Joe Lycett and Labor frontbencher Emily Thornberry (left to right).

Lycett also reiterated that he thought their plans were “very clear.”

“We all know what she’s going to do. And we all liked the plan. We’re all on board. And we all feel like it’s well thought out,” he added.

The BBC and Laura Kuenssberg have faced criticism for booking a comedian to mock Liz Truss just days before she is expected to become the next prime minister.

Ms Truss took the opportunity on Kuenssberg’s first Sunday show to promise “immediate” action to help Britons with energy bills if confirmed as Tory leader.

But her interview was followed by sarcastic applause from Lycett, who claimed to be “very right-wing” despite his frequent criticism of the Tory party and the government.

Even SNP MP Pete Wishart quipped that the BBC

Even SNP MP Pete Wishart quipped that the BBC “maybe should reconsider the comedian spot”.

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Lycett was flanked by Labor frontbencher Emily Thornberry and former Downing Street assistant Cleo Watson.

Miss Thornberry was told by Miss Kuenssberg that she was “grinning in the corner” at the comedian’s behaviour.

Lycett telegraphed his feelings on Twitter last night, saying he was “really excited to be on this new version of ‘Would I Lie To You'”.

The BBC’s decision to invite him to the first episode of the important new show sparked dismay and confusion last night.

What did Joe Lycett say?

All Sunday on the BBC, Joe Lycett with Laura Kuenssberg entertained viewers by his staunch support of Liz Truss and the Tory party. But what did he say?

At the leadership competition

“It has been a great use of resources, a great use of our media, to have infighting in the Tory party while a huge cost of living crisis looms.”

Liz Truss is ‘stronger than you think’ over Janet Daly’s claim

“Fair play, Janet. I think the haters will say that we’ve had 12 years of Tories and we’re kind of at the end of what they have available and that Liz Truss is kind of a backwash of Conservative MPs.

“I wouldn’t say that because I’m incredibly right-wing, but some people might say that.”

About Liz Truss and Energy Bills:

‘I loved it.

“You said earlier that I am neither left nor right nor right. I’m actually very right and I loved it. I thought she was very clear, she gave great clear answers.

“I know exactly what she’s up to and I think most people watching at home will be worried about their bills [reassured]…’.

“She was very clear in what she said. I think you know exactly what’s going to happen. I’m calm, you’re calm, are you calm?’

“I liked what she had to say about let’s not predict and let’s just see what happens. I think she did the right thing.”

On plans to ease the cost of living crisis:

“I’d like a plan, something concrete, we need help now.

‘Why not now? Oh, I slipped into the left.’

A senior Tory party source said: “This is supposed to be a serious political programme. I think it made Laura Kuenssberg look stupid… I think it’s absurd.

“How could this be right for the BBC? If I were the BBC I would apologize and say we were wrong, we made a mistake and we will be a serious political program again.

Rob Burley, a former BBC live political program editor, said: “Memo: Don’t put comedians on Question Time or any other serious political show. It is no longer the time for this nonsense.” BBC Director-General Tim Davie is grilled over the insults when he faces the Commons Culture Committee this week.

Yesterday’s Mail on Sunday reported how Have I Got News For You spent its full half hour disparaging the outgoing Prime Minister on Friday, including using the C-word.

Tory backbencher Lee Anderson, who last year said he tore up his television license in protest at the BBC’s Princess Diana scandal, said: “Leopards are not changing seats and it appears the BBC is now running out of public money for… Boris can use attacks, they have now targeted Liz Truss.

Former Secretary of State Sir John Hayes said: “I was a hesitant supporter of defunding the BBC in the hope it would return to what it was, but those days seem to be over. It’s so openly biased now.’

However, Lycett has been praised on Twitter, including by fellow comic Nish Kumar, writer Jay Rayner and Labor MP Jess Phillips.

Senior sources in the BBC’s news department defended the new show, saying the program needed “frivolity” and that “people of all views would come over time”.

They added: “It’s important that impartiality on a show is not seen as a balance. That’s not the goal now and never was. They show me a launch program that is right down to the last detail from day one.’

It comes as Liz Truss has vowed to unveil a £100billion cost-of-living plan that could include freezing energy bills for millions of households – if she becomes Tory leader.

The Foreign Secretary, who is widely expected to be announced as the new Tory leader this afternoon, vowed to unveil a plan in her first week as Prime Minister to help millions of families facing soaring energy bills.

It’s understood the mammoth package of support could be worth more than £100billion – putting it on the same scale as the Covid furlough scheme.

Options under consideration include a freeze on energy bills for families and businesses.

Miss Truss last night pledged “quick action” to get households through the winter and tackle the “root cause” of the crisis.

“I have a bold plan to lead Britain through difficult times and get us out the other side stronger,” she told the Daily Mail. “If I am elected Prime Minister I will work tirelessly to make a difference for the people of Britain.”

Liz Truss was interviewed by Laura Kuenssberg but refused to be told what measures she will be putting in place to keep the cost of living down

Liz Truss was interviewed by Laura Kuenssberg but refused to be told what measures she will be putting in place to keep the cost of living down

Miss Truss yesterday vowed to act “immediately” to tackle the energy crisis but declined to give details of the support that struggling households can expect.

The foreign secretary, who denied being “shy”, said she wanted to reassure voters that help was coming but indicated they would have to wait a few days to find out exactly what the support might look like.

Speaking to Laura Kuenssberg on BBC Sunday, Miss Truss said: “I will act if I am elected Prime Minister. I will respond immediately to bills and energy supply because I think these two things go hand in hand.’

Miss Truss seemed to dismiss dire warnings about the future as she insisted the country had “been through worse”.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11181043/Joe-Lycett-BBC-Laura-Kuenssberg-told-wanted-different-direction.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Joe Lycett: BBC and Laura Kuenssberg told him they wanted the show to go in a ‘different direction’

Emma Colton

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