Laura Trott Leaves Frustrated Theo Paphitis Head In Hands On Question Time

Conservative minister Laura Trott has left entrepreneur Theo Paphitis exasperated on BBC Question Time over her response to questions about immigration.

The former judge on TV’s Dragon’s Den hit out at the Conservative politician for attacking Labour party policies when asked to explain why her government was failing on immigration.

He later literally put his head in his hands as Trott struggled to explain how her party would keep migration numbers down after 13 years in power.

It comes as net migration into the UK has hit a record high, according to official figures published on Thursday.

Fiona Bruce, Laura Trott and Theo Paphitis on BBC Question Time, which this week came from Gravesend.
Fiona Bruce, Laura Trott and Theo Paphitis on BBC Question Time, which this week came from Gravesend.

Fiona Bruce, Laura Trott and Theo Paphitis on BBC Question Time, which this week came from Gravesend.

In a major embarrassment for Rishi Sunak, the Office for National Statistics show 606,000 more people entered the country than left it in 2022.

That is up from the estimated 504,000 it was at in the year to June 2022.

At the last election, the Tories promised to bring immigration down from the 226,000 it was then.

Ministers have insisted that the war in Ukraine, as well as the political upheaval in Hong Kong, has played a major part in the surge in numbers coming to Britain.

On Question Time, in response to the first question on the show – What is the right level of immigration? – Trott essayed the Ukraine and Hong Kong influx and said that the Tories have “got a plan to bring immigration down”, including the small boats crackdown.

She added: “The last thing I’ll say is you can’t trust Labour on this one. They went into the last election saying they wanted freedom of movement. As recently as 2020, Keir Starmer said he wanted to defend free movement.”

When it came to Paphitis, he said: “I’ve never been (so) disappointed when a politician comes on, gets asked a question, and the first thing they do rather than answering a question is attack the opposition. It was a question that needed an answer.”

Later, when discussing the same question, host Fiona Bruce asked Trott repeatedly who currently on work visas would the Conservative government prefer not to be coming to the UK.

“It’s really important we have more training for people in the UK,” said Trott, who would only point to lorry drivers as an example, which a frustrated Bruce suggested would not make much of a dent in the 606,000 figure.

When Trott said “I would like lots of jobs to be done by British people ...”  after the fifth time of asking, she was interrupted by Bruce who said: “(Paphitis) has got his head in his hands so we’re not getting anywhere.”

This week’s programme came from Gravesend in Kent. The other panellists were Labour’s Peter Kyle, Munira Wilson of the Lib Dems and journalist Janet Street-Porter.