'You don't know the numbers!' Nick Ferrari challenges James Cleverly

20 September 2021, 09:16 | Updated: 20 September 2021, 09:21

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

'You don't know the numbers do you, minister?' Nick Ferrari challenges James Cleverly, demanding an answer.

Ahead of a meeting between Liz Truss and the Iranian foreign minister, Nick Ferrari grilled one of the Foreign Secretary's colleagues.

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly refused to say how many British dual nationals were being held in Iran.

Ms Truss is set to call for the immediate release of UK nationals such as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who are being detained in Iran.

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told LBC Iran had no reason to be holding "a number" of British nationals in detention.

"You say a number of dual nationals, what is that number, minister?" Nick asked.

Refusing to answer the question, Mr Cleverly said he was "not going to discuss that this morning.

"Why?!" Demanded Nick asking for the number of dual nationals who were being held.

"What is the number? Can I put it to you that you don't know, Mr Cleverly"

"I do know," was the response.

"Then tell us!"

"No, I'm not going to, Nick," said the minister refusing to be drawn on the issue.

This led to Nick pointing out he already knew the names of those who were detailed in Iran, and the information was available online.

Pushed by Nick as to whether he knew the figure, he said: "I do, I work on this all the time."

Later the new Foreign Secretary will speak to Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, along with a number of her international counterparts, for the first time at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday.

Among the discussions will be UK nationals trapped in Iran, such as Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Anoosheh Ashoori and Morad Tahbaz.

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