James O'Brien Tells Iain Dale Why He Won't Debate Leading Brexiteers Without Fact-Checkers

3 December 2018, 15:05 | Updated: 10 December 2018, 13:23

Iain Dale grilled James O'Brien in the LBC studio for the first time as they discussed his best-selling book How To Be Right.

Speaking on Iain Dale's Book Club podcast, the host asked James why he doesn't appear on the big political TV programmes, such as Question Time.

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James's response was fascinating - and led to quite a row between the LBC pair. The full podcast will be released on Tuesday morning.

Iain asked why James turns down invitations to those shows. With a twinkle in his eye, James responded: "You've put me in a slightly difficult position now, given that you've now cast yourself as someone that says yes all the time."

But he explained that he simply doesn't want to be sitting next to someone who he doesn't believe should be part of the debate.

He said: "I consider some people who are still part of public discourse to be contemptible. If I turn up to a panel and I'm yin to the yang of someone I consider to be a lying racist fascist, then I validate them."

Iain queried why he wouldn't want to go on Question Time and James insisted: "Because my presence validates them.

"My point of view is evidence-based and I will not have a debate with someone whose point of view is belief-based and be treated as their equal."

Iain told him: "That's quite an arrogant thing to say."

Iain Dale grilled James O'Brien for the first time
Iain Dale grilled James O'Brien for the first time. Picture: LBC

But James retorted: "No it isn't. There's nothing arrogant about faith in evidence opposed to faith in faith.

"I'm not going to sit there and have a debate with someone who is spreading demonstrable untruths. Because if I sit there with the duller position which is evidence-based and flawed, it validates the crypto-fascist.

"It gives them the idea that somehow we are on two ends of a see-saw, whereas I think there are people in public discourse at the moment who have no business being on the see-saw at all."

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