New Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney elected 'on a wave of anti-Brexit feeling' WALKS OUT of an interview after failing to answer questions on the EU
- Sarah Olney disappeared off air just three minutes into a live broadcast
- Embarrassed aide was forced to intervene to say she had left the interview
- Olney, who beat Goldsmith on a pledge to hold second EU referendum, failed to answer basic questions on Lib Dem Brexit policy
The new Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney who said she was elected on a wave of anti-Brexit feeling walked out of a live radio interview today after failing to answer basic questions about the EU.
Sarah Olney disappeared off air just three minutes into the broadcast, leaving a long, awkward silence before an embarrassed aide intervened to tell presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer that the new MP had left the interview.
She failed to answer basic questions on her party's Brexit stance despite saying in her victory speech after beating pro-Brexit Zac Goldsmith this morning that she decided to stand because 'I felt I had to get involved' after June's leave vote.
Sarah Olney, pictured in Richmond with Tim Farron after her victory today, disappeared off air just three minutes into the broadcast, leaving a long, awkward silence before an embarrassed aide intervened to tell presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer that the new MP had left the interview
In the Richmond Park by-election campaign Ms Olney exploited Mr Goldsmith's pro-Brexit stance to win the overwhelmingly pro-Remain constituency.
Hours after winning she was booked into a live interview with Ms Hartley-Brewer on Talk Radio.
But it only lasted three cringe-worthy minutes after Ms Olney was repeatedly grilled over her campaign pledge to demand a second EU referendum on the terms of Britain's exit from the EU.
Ms Hartley-Brewer asked her: 'Voters knew what they were voting for in your by-election, they knew what they were voting for in the EU referendum. Why do we think that one election should be re-run and one shouldn't?'
Ms Olney said the terms of Brexit had not been clear during the referendum and it had been a vote on the departure rather than the destination.
In the Richmond Park by-election campaign Sarah Olney, pictuerd with Tim Farron in the constituency today, exploited Mr Goldsmith's pro-Brexit stance to win the overwhelmingly pro-Remain constituency
'There was no clear manifesto for what happened to our membership of the single market or what happened to freedom of movement,' she said.
Ms Hartley-Brewer replied: 'Every single leading member of the Remain campaign said a vote to leave the EU was a vote to leave the single market. Nothing unclear about that at all.'
After a few seconds of awkward silence, an unnamed aide stepped in and told the presenter: 'I'm really sorry but Sarah has to leave now.'
A furious Ms Hartley-Brewer said the MP 'should be able to answer some simple questions' about her policy and asked for her to be put back on air but was told Ms Olney had another interview to attend.
'If she doesn't want to answer questions from a radio station perhaps she is not fit to be an MP', the presenter added.
In her victory speech this morning Ms Olney appeared much more confident, claiming her victory had sent a 'shockwave' through Theresa May's Brexit policy.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron told a victory rally in Richmond today his demand for a second referendum was 'gaining traction'
She said: 'When I saw what happened at the general election last year I felt I had to get involved.
'I think a lot of people in this community had the same feeling after the referendum.
'Richmond Park is full of people like me who felt something was going wrong, that the politics of anger and division were on the rise, that the liberal tolerant values we took for granted were under threat.'
She added: 'Well, today we have said no. We will defend the Britain we love. We will stand up for the open, tolerant, united Britain we believe in.
'The people of Richmond Park and North Kingston have sent a shockwave through this Conservative Brexit government and our message is clear: we do not want a hard Brexit, we do not want to be pulled out of the single market and we will not let intolerance, division and fear win.'
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron joined Ms Olney in Richmond today to gloat about the victory.
He claimed his party's shock win proves the case for a second referendum to stop Theresa May 'perverting' Brexit.
He said there was 'no inevitability' that 'extreme positions' had to win as he said Ms Olney's victory was a vote against hard Brexit.
Mr Goldsmith, pictured speaking after defeat, stood as an independent in the Richmond Park by-election after resigning from the Conservatives over the government's decision to expand Heathrow Airport
Ms Olney secured 49.6 per cent of the vote to inflict a crushing defeat on Zac Goldsmith in yesterday's by-election. The former Tory quit his seat in Parliament in protest at the plan to expand Heathrow.
Mr Farron was dismissed as 'silly' by Tory MPs today for trying to capitalise on result, which came in a constituency that backed Remain by 70 per cent and is one of the wealthiest in the country.
Despite the criticism, Mr Farron made clear he planned to cash in on the result by claiming his second referendum plan was 'gaining traction' and was a 'threat' to dozens of Tory MPs with Lib Dem opponents.
At a victory rally on Richmond Green, he said: 'In the end the voters are king.
'If the British people decide to say to Theresa May there is a better way forward than the one she is proceeding with and we then end up with a soft Brexit or, better, the terms of the deal are put to the British people in a referendum because they fear losing dozens of seats to the Liberal Democrats, we'll have done a great day's work.'
He added: 'The reality is wherever you are in this country there will be a balance of opinion but was was really striking over the last week was the number of leave voting, former Conservatives, voting for Sarah.
'Most of them don't regret their vote in June but they do regret Theresa May taking their vote and perverting it to something they never meant it to mean.
'They want to be in the single market even if they are outside the EU.
'Given that is the case, given millions voted for that, our argument that we should have a referendum on the terms of the deal is gaining traction.'
SARAH OLNEY'S CRINGE-WORTHY INTERVIEW IN FULL
Sarah Olney, pictured left, disappeared off air just three minutes into the broadcast, leaving a long, awkward silence before an embarrassed aide intervened to tell presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer, pictured on a Have I Got News for You episode, that the new MP had left the interview
Julia Hartley-Brewer: ‘My first question, absolutely the most crucial question, when is the second by-election going to be held?’
Sarah Olney: ‘The second by-election?’
JHB: ‘Well we don’t really know whether voters really knew what they were voting for when they elected you so shouldn’t we have a second by-election – you want a second EU referendum don’t you?’
SO: ‘I was very clear in my campaign exactly what I was standing for and the voters have returned me to Parliament with a clear mandate.’
JHB: ‘A clear mandate but less than 50 per cent of the voters of Richmond voted for you, are you sure you’ve got that mandate?’
SO: ‘Well I won’t the vote last night in the by-election and we’ve overturned a huge Conservative majority here.’
JHB: ‘You have and yet you have questioned the EU referendum vote.
‘You said that one of the big issues on which you stood - I mean we thought Heathrow would be the big issue, there wasn’t actually a single candidate who was campaigning for a third runway for Heathrow, so Heathrow became a dud issue in the by-election, it became all about Brexit.’
‘In what way have you got a mandate from the people of Richmond - if you don’t have more than 50 per cent of the vote the vote in the EU referendum on June 23rd was a much clearer mandate, wasn’t it?’
SO: ‘Well to be fair I campaigned on that issue in this by-election and I won a clear majority of the votes last night.’
JHB: ‘You absolutely did but your margin of victory was only about the same as the margin of victory in the EU referendum – about 4.5 per cent, in which case again, shouldn’t we re-run the by-election to be clear?’
SO: ‘We accept the result of the referendum – what we’re saying is we think there should be a further vote on the terms before we make the final decision to leave.’
JHB: ‘Did your party leader Tim Farron mention that before and did anyone else on the Remain campaign mention that on June 23rd?’
‘It’s the…er… development since the referendum.’
JHB: ‘So we’re allowed to change our policy after the referendum and then go back to revisit the referendum – is that what we’re doing?’
SO: ‘Sorry I missed that.’
JHB: ‘Well I’m just a bit confused because we had a remain campaign, we had a leave campaign, just as you’ve run a campaign, Zac Goldsmith ran a campaign, Christian Wolmar from the Labour party.
‘Voters knew what they were voting for in your by-election, they knew what they were voting for in the EU referendum.
‘Why do we think that one election should be re-run and one shouldn’t?’
SO: ‘Well in the referendum it wasn’t clear what people voted for – there wasn’t a clear manifesto.’
JHB: ‘I was clear.’
SO: ‘There wasn’t a clear manifesto set up for the terms of leaving – we leaved for departure but not a destination, there was no clear manifesto for what happens to our membership of the single market…’
JHB: ‘Yes there was – the Remain campaign said we were going to leave the single market if we voted out.’
JHB: ‘Yes they did, they repeated it every single leading member of the Remain campaign said a vote to leave the EU was a vote to Leave the single market. Nothing unclear about that at all.’
Sarah’s aide: ‘'I'm really sorry but Sarah has to leave now.'
JHB: ‘No she doesn't. Sarah, if you want to be an elected a Member of Parliament I think you should probably be able to answer some simple questions about your policy. Can you get Sarah back on the line please?'
Aide: ‘I’m sorry about that, she’s got another interview now.’
JHB: ‘Can you get Sarah back on the line please. I don't know who you are, we've waited an hour to have this interview, if she doesn't want to answer questions from a radio station perhaps she's not fit to be an MP.’
Aide: ‘I’m very sorry she’s got another interview now.’
JHB: ‘Has she got another interview? That’s funny because she was booked in for this time.’
After a long pause, JHB told listeners: ‘So, that’s the Liberal Democrats, folks.’