Rebecca Long-Bailey was blasted over her “dreadful” performance on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to discuss her plans for a greener Labour Party manifesto. The Labour leadership contest candidate was accused of “waffling” and failing to provide a “straight answer” to questions posed during what some social media users branded a “car crash” interview. One Twitter user wrote: “@RLong_Bailey you are waffling.
“Your answers should be with the view of convincing @UKLabour members to vote for you. Instead, you’re answering a question by not really giving an answer.”
Another user echoed the sentiment, writing: “@BBCr4today does @RLong_Bailey ever answer a direct question?”
Some users took particular issue with the struggle the shadow Business Secretary appeared to have in explaining how she would have intervened to stop the collapse of airline Flybe.
“Is she doesn’t have a plane and her car crash interview on green policy with @afneil last night exposed @RLong_Bailey as a demagogue of Arthur Scargill type who can organise a strike with a megaphone but can’t collect fares on a bus.”
Ms Long-Bailey had previously faced a grilling over her plans when she appeared on The Andrew Neil Show on Wednesday evening.
Another social media user wrote: “Just listening to Rebecca Long-Bailey on Radio 4. Arrogance beyond belief and she never takes a breath. Dreadful.”
And one simply said: “You’re actually listening? I zoned out about halfway through. Think she’s finished now.”
Ms Long-Bailey during the programme was asked to outline her suggestion on how to help FlyBe remain in business despite claims the coronavirus epidemic heavily contributed to the company’s collapse.
The Labour MP for Salford and Eccles said: “If I was Business Secretary or Prime Minister at the time, firstly, I would look at providing support for those businesses affected directly by the coronavirus.
“Now, allegedly, FlyBe was in financial difficulty already but it was coronavirus that pushed it over the edge.
“The CEO of BA said other airlines are likely to follow with a mixture of being affected by Brexit, the rise in oil price and also coronavirus.”
Ms Long-Bailey continued: “What we need to see is an emergency fund put in place for those firms who were adversely affected by the coronavirus.
“Specifically, the Australian Government has already talked about this, the incoming Governor of the Bank of England has advocated that this is an approach the Government should take.
“The Government should also look at tax breaks such as business rate to try and reduce the burden.”
The coronavirus impact on travel “has made a bad situation much worse,” insiders told the BBC.
As part of the January rescue deal, FlyBe agreed to an arrangement to defer tax payments of “less than £10 million” with HM Revenue and Customs.
Ministers also agreed to hold a review into Air Passenger Duty (APD). The structure of APD – which adds £26 to the price of most return domestic flights such as those operated by Flybe – could be altered in next week’s Budget.