Martin Lewis and Edwina Currie got into a Twitter spat over the energy crisis (Photo: PA/Getty)
Martin Lewis took on former Conservative minister Edwina Currie on Twitter on Wednesday, after she called out his approach to the energy crisis.
Lewis, a consumer journalist known as the Money Saving Expert, has repeatedly shared his exasperation towards the government as the energy price cap is set to hurtle towards £3,549 come October 1.
He called on either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, the two remaining contenders left in the race to be the next prime minister, to sit down in an ITV special once they take office to field questions over the cost of living crisis.
His tweet quickly went viral and grabbed Currie’s attention, a former Tory MP who briefly served as a junior health minister under John Major. She lost her seat in 1997′s general election.
Currie is now known for being an outspoken public figure, a media personality and an author – and she had plenty to say about Lewis’ plea to the government on Wednesday.
She tweeted: “I would like you, Martin, to stop using words like ‘catastrophe’, and instead advise people take sensible steps to reduce the effect on their families and businesses.
“And stop pretending that governments can do everything. They can’t.”
I would like you, Martin, to stop using words like “catastrophe,” and instead advise people take sensible steps to reduce the effect on their families and businesses.
And stop pretending that governments can do everything.
They can’t. https://t.co/MZ50dixNjH
— Edwina Currie (@Edwina_Currie) August 31, 2022
He then responded: “It is a catastrophe Edwina!
“While there are steps people can take to help themselves (I explain them in today’s email mse.me/latesttip), energy bills by Jan will cost on average over half the full state pension and bigger proportion of basic UC [Universal credit].
“No sensible steps cover that!”
Several hours later, Lewis also put together a Twitter poll which asked: “Do you think it is fair to call the coming winter energy and cost of living price hikes a ‘catastrophe’?
“Votes split by whether you traditionally vote for Conservatives )even if not right now) or not. To see if view correlates with political stance.”
He tweeted summarising his findings (long before the poll officially closed) by pointing out that of 15,000 votes, 90% of Conservative voters and 95% of non-Tory voters agreed that it was fair to call the crisis a “catastrophe”.
However, Lewis did note that this was a Twitter poll, and therefore does not fairly represent the population.
With 15,000 votes in. It is a landslide so far...
90% of Tories
95% of others
Who've voted think the coming price hikes can be called a catastrophe.
This is just a twitter poll though, would be interesting to see proper statistically representative poll on it. https://t.co/NfdDaVCPjv
— Martin Lewis (@MartinSLewis) August 31, 2022
Currie also replied to Lewis directly, saying: “Emphasise the help. Include local authorities, as in Germany.
“Give people something they can do...not just wringing their hands. The more those who can reduce usage, the easier it gets for those who can’t. Every little helps.
“And no, governments cannot do everything.”
It’s worth noting that Germany has unveiled a long-term strategy to cut energy costs, including insulating old buildings, while also offering one-off payments for workers who pay income tax.
Meanwhile, Downing Street has been called a “zombie government” (by Lewis) and criticised over its inaction for weeks now – especially as the cost of living package offered in May is now nowhere near enough to meet the current needs of the crisis.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.