The leadership race is 'such a horrific nightmare', 'you'd think it was a comedy sketch', says David Lammy

23 October 2022, 12:18

David Lammy opening his show
David Lammy opening his show. Picture: LBC
Fran Way

By Fran Way

The race between Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt to be the next prime minister is ‘such a horrific nightmare’ you’d think it was a ‘sketch written by comedians’, says David Lammy.

In his opening monologue on LBC, the Labour MP blamed decisions made by this government for directly tipping 20,000 people into poverty and leaving thousands of families ‘afraid’ of letting their children shower because of bills skyrocketing.

He said that the decision on who should be the next prime minister should be left in the hands of the public – ‘not the 1%’ who are Tory members or MPs.

Speaking about Rishi as the next Prime Minister, David questioned why he has been labelled the ‘big hero’, asking: “Why didn’t he beat Truss the first place if he’s so fantastic, if he’s so great?”

On Boris, he said: “We’re a serious country and these are serious times, do we really need a clown back, the Jester? It’s fun for the media, of course it is, but it’s catastrophic for the country and our representation.”

He added: “I haven’t spoken about Penny Mordaunt. I don’t think she’s going to win, I’m sorry, I don’t see it.”

LBC: David Lammy's explosive take on the Tory Party leadership 'farce'

Opening the show this afternoon he said: “The basis for my anger this morning is what I believe this is doing to our democracy. We are the country of Shakespeare, of Dickens, of the Bronte Sisters, we’re the country of the suffragettes, the people who stood up to apartheid in South Africa and marched – and here we are with 357 Tory MPs getting together over the next few hours effectively and choosing the next Prime Minister for you.

“Saddling us with one of the private school educated men I suspect, because I don’t think Penny Mordaunt is going to win, or a coronation of one of them saddling us with that person for the next couple of years.

“This isn’t right. It’s not worthy of our country. You should decide, the people should decide, not 357 MPs – it’s a fraction, it’s barely a fraction, of the general public at large. And even if they go to Tory membership, it’s not even 1% of the country at large at this time.”

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He spoke about visiting a school this week where families are terrified of turning on their heating or hot water amid bills skyrocketing into the thousands so their children are having to shower at school. He said foodbanks are opening in churches because people are struggling with the cost of living.

He explained: “I was in a school this week, teachers told me about children coming to school smelling not having had a shower in the morning because their parents are afraid of turning on the boiler, turning on the gas or electricity. They’re having to shower at school.”

Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson and Penny Mordant
Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson and Penny Mordant. Picture: Pictures: Alamy

Speaking about the candidates he said: “And yet we have this farce. Rishi Sunak is this big hero. Rishi Sunak, where is his empathy, where was his empathy when he cut universal credit by £20 plunging 20,000 people into poverty?

“Rishi Sunak is one of the most privileged people in the country in fact he’s got more money than any other MP in the house. While he was cutting that benefit a few weeks earlier he was putting in planning permission for a new pool, a new tennis court and a new gym in his wonderful house and he’s the man who’s going to save us, really?

“Why didn’t he beat Truss in the first place if he’s so fantastic, if he’s so great? I’ve seen him in parliament and I’ll tell you now he’s got a thin skin. I haven’t seen the empathy, he’s not going to be great if he gets the job.

“And then Boris Johnson, I mean, if it wasn’t such a horrific nightmare, you’d think this was a sketch written by our best comedians. We’re a serious country and these are serious times do we really need a clown back, the jester.

“It’s fun for the media of course it is, it’s catastrophic for the country and our representation.

“This is a man facing a privilege enquiry, it's a man who everyone who knows him thinks he’s a serial liar. He’s lied to parliament time and time and time again.

“He’s been in the Dominican Republic on holiday – how many holidays does he need. It’s October – the rest of us are at work. He’s sunning himself, flying back to stitch up deals with Rishi Sunak we’re told they haven’t struck a deal.

"At least there might be some inkling of democracy but it won’t be the democratic moment that we ned which is a general election. So I’m sorry, I can’t get excited about this.

“I haven’t spoken about Penny Mordaunt, I don’t think she’s going to win. I’, sorry, I don’t really see it. I suspect they’ll be a coronation and if there’s a contest Boris will win and will be our prime minister again.

“Whoever wins, your mortgage has gone up because of decisions this party has made, inflation has gone further because of decisions this party has made.”