Andrew Marr says two different sides of parliament are on show as Matt Hancock goes on I'm A Celebrity, others discuss 'deeply serious' issues

1 November 2022, 18:35 | Updated: 1 November 2022, 18:37

Andrew Marr on LBC
Andrew Marr on LBC. Picture: LBC
Fran Way

By Fran Way

Andrew Marr says two completely different sides of Westminster have been on show today.

He said while half of the MPs are ‘talking, laughing and rolling their eyes’ about Matt Hancock taking a break to go on I’m A Celebrity, others were engaged in more serious topics like Chinese police stations in the UK.

Andrew Marr has seen has seen two sides to Westminster today

Opening the Marr show tonight, Andrew said: “I feel I've spent my day in two separate Westminsters at the same time. In one Westminster everybody is talking, laughing, and rolling their eyes about the decision by the former Health Secretary Matt Hancock to take a break from his political job to go on the reality TV show I'm a Celebrity, which is filming in Australia.

"For this, he has today lost the Tory whip. The prime minister's official spokesman said that Rishi Sunak believed that, at “a challenging time for the country, MPs should be working hard for their constituents.”

"Mr Hancock, on the other hand clearly believes that his constituents would much prefer to see him being ritually humiliated by Ant and Dec, while eating grubs and animal genitalia.

"And who’s to say he’s wrong? Andy Drummond, deputy chairman of the MP’s West Suffolk Conservatives, helpfully entered the debate by saying HE was looking forward to seeing Mr Hancock eating a kangaroo’s penis. As are we all – although I do hope the kangaroo, If not Mr Hancock, has gone to a better place by the time he does it.

READ MORE:Matt Hancock loses Tory whip as he joins Boy George and Olivia Attwood in the jungle for I'm A Celebrity

READ MORE: Calls for urgent investigation over claims Liz Truss' phone was hacked by Russian spies

"But alongside all that, there was another Westminster, deeply engaged in deeply serious stuff - in particular the penetration by hostile foreign powers into British life.

"You may remember the recent newspaper story that the personal mobile phone belonging to Liz Truss, the former prime minister, was hacked and compromised by agents suspected of working for the Kremlin.

"Today in the Commons the focus was on secret Chinese police stations in the UK. That's a story we've discussed on the show before. I said I wouldn't forget about it and I haven't.

"Tom Tugenhadt, former Tory leadership contender, and the recently appointed security minister told the Commons that ‘Any foreign country operating on UK soil must abide by UK law, and any attempts to illegally repatriate any individual will not be tolerated.’

"But during an urgent parliamentary question about the legal position of the secretive police stations, the newly appointed chair of the foreign Affairs Select Committee Alicia Kearns made it clear she remained deeply worried.

"And the former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, who’s talked about this on the show before, made it clear he thought the British government remained at least half asleep at the wheel."