Most politicians are desperate to appear on BBC Question Time. Britain’s most watched political show can make or break a career, but most folk in Westminster are vain enough to take the gamble. The exception is Gordon Brown.
As far as anyone can remember, Brown never appeared on the show during his decade as chancellor. Answering questions from ‘real people’ is just not his thing.
After moving into government, he ran a mile from any audience participation show, claiming he was too important to appear on a panel. During the 2001 election, he was the only senior member of the cabinet and shadow cabinet — from the prime minister down — to refuse to appear on the Jonathan Dimbleby programme, which also had a live audience. Is he scared of Jo Public showing him up?
It will be interesting to see what happens if the proposed election debate between the leaders falls through. In past campaigns, Blair would appear on QT to face the public, albeit on his own. I’d wager that Brown ducks out of that tradition.