Claire Perry, Conservative MP, seemed to enjoy asking questions on the Daily Politics today, so much so that Andrew Neil feared she was angling for his job.

Interviewees asking questions on TV shows is known as ‘role reversal’ and is one form of equivocation that politicians will use to try set the floor and avoid answering questions.  Interviewers, however, are often alert to this and like to remind their guests of the roles they have while refusing to answer the question.

Role reversal

Perry (CP) was asked a question by the interviewer Andrew Neil (IN) in lines 01-06 but decided to reverse roles and ask a question herself in lines 07-08. Neil in lines 09-10 reminds Perry of her role as interviewee and that she doesn’t ask the question but he does. Perry persists with her attempt to reverse roles in lines 11-13. Neil interrupts and regains the floor but Perry again insist on setting her own question from line 17 onward.

01 IN: can you name any time
02     in the past seventy years
03     when spending on the NHS
04     has gone up
05     by less than
06     one point four [percent
07 CP:                [can can you name any time
08     [in the last seventy years
09 IN: [no no no you do- you don’t ask the questions
10     [I ask the questions
11 CP: [ca ca can you
12     well let me ask you
13     [a question Andrew
14 IN: [can you tell us when NHS spending
15     has risen by less
16     than it has under your government
17 CP: has NHS spending ever been enough
18     so have we ever heard a year
19     in the last seventy years
20     when the NHS has said
21     we’ve got enough money for the department

External link to clip

Interviewing the Interviewees

Late on, Perry does quite well at trying to interview one of the other guests on the programme, Richard Burgon (RB), the shadow Secretary of State for Justice. Burgon mentions the ‘Conservative hospital closure programme’ and Perry steps in lines 27 and 36 to ask him about this without waiting for the interviewer, Andrew Neil. Neil then senses that Perry is angling for his joke and joking asks her about this in line 43 onward.

22 RB: well what I would say
23     we were also going to halt
24     the Conservative’s hospital
25     er closure er programme
26     but
27 CP: w- which hospital closure
28     there isn’t a hospital closure programme Richard
29 IN: well that was included
30     [in ( the two percent)
31 RB: [there is a hospital closure programme
32     and (.) constituents across the country know that
33     [in in terms
34 CP: [it was- there was one in my constituency
35     but I’m not
36     so can you talk about the hospital closure programme
37     that you’ve [xx xx
38 RB:             [well I’ll answer Andrew’s questions
39     [rather than yours if that’s okay
40 CP: [oh you can’t talk about that
41     cos there isn’t one
42 RB:     [er in relation to
43 IN: are [you er
44     are you angling for my job
45     I’m mean xx
46 CP: [I’d love your job Andrew
47 IN: [are things not going well in the energy department
48 CP: it’s [going swimmingly
49 IN:      [that you now
50     wanna be a BBC presenter
51 CP: [d’you think I’d be good at it
52 IN: [you’re asking me questions
53     you’re asking him questions (.)
54     answer that question
55     the fact is
56     you were not ambition on health
57 RB: er in relat- ah

External link to clip

BBC Daily Politics, 28th March 2018