Advertisement

BBC presenter says 2022 saw 'the death of shame' in politics

Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Boris Johnson at the Remembrance Sunday service. (Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Boris Johnson, the UK's three prime ministers of 2022, reunited at the Remembrance Sunday service in November. (Getty Images)

A BBC presenter has said 2022 witnessed "the death of shame” in politics.

Kirsty Young, the former Desert Island Discs and Crimewatch presenter who also fronted BBC coverage of the Queen’s death this year, said the politicians should “scuttle off into the shadows” in a searing assessment of the year in UK politics.

Young, who was appearing on ITV’s The John Bishop Show, did not name any names but she was reflecting on a year in which two prime ministers were forced to resign: one (Boris Johnson) following a series of scandals and the other (Liz Truss) after economic destruction.

“I think ‘ridiculous’ is just about the most polite word you could use for it,” Young said.

“I think we've witnessed the death of shame. These people have no shame.

Kirsty Young 2022
Kirsty Young

“I thought it was really interesting to see that when the mess was unfolding and all their lives were falling apart as a result, nobody actually said: ‘We've made some really horrible mistakes.’

“They said things like: ‘I think we were moving too fast for what the country is ready [for]’. No, just say you made a mistake, apologise and scuttle off into the shadows. That’s what you should do.”

There was so much turmoil at the top of government that by the time Rishi Sunak took over as prime minister on 25 October, he became the UK's third leader in the space of seven weeks.

Watch: A year of Conservative political turmoil

His predecessor, Truss, whose aggressive “growth plan” caused major economic turmoil amid market concerns about the impact of the £43bn tax giveaway on public finances, went down in history as the shortest-serving PM of all time.

Her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, who delivered the now-infamous "mini budget", also became the second-shortest serving postwar chancellor after he was made a scapegoat by Truss and sacked.

Johnson, meanwhile, faced repeated scandals about lockdown rule-breaking parties held in Downing Street, becoming the first serving PM to receive a police fine for attending one of the gatherings in 2020.

Read more: Story behind the image of Sunak and Macron's historic meeting: 'This one went crazy'

In a separate scandal involving his appointment of deputy chief whip Chris Pincher, it emerged Johnson knew about sexual misconduct allegations against him as far back as 2019. It triggered a wave of ministerial resignations, forcing Johnson to quit.

Following Young's diatribe, Bishop himself also pointed to the example of backbench Conservative MP Neil Parish, who resigned after watching pornography in the House of Commons.