While hosting BBC Question Time on Thursday, Bruce addressed the damning Covid report which said the government’s initial handling on the pandemic was “the worst public health failure ever” in UK history.
She turned to a Labour MP and said: “Do you think Labour has anything to say sorry for?”
Shadow culture and sports minister Alison McGovern replied: ”I think about this question a lot, why is it so difficult for politicians to say sorry.
“I think we get defensive.”
Bruce continued to push McGovern and suggested that Labour’s shadow health secretary Johnathan Ashworth only pushed for lockdown on the very day it was announced.
The host said: “Do you think Labour should have been calling for that lockdown [sooner]?”
She then asked whether Labour was “missing in action” because the party was re-electing its leader – meaning it might have been “distracted”.
Bruce’s question followed an audience member’s claim that both the government and Labour are “accountable” for the disastrous handling of the pandemic.
— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) October 14, 2021
McGovern eventually replied, “I think we tried our best to get together a cross party way of dealing with this issue”, but Bruce cut her off and said, “I’ll take that as a no” to apologising.
However, the Labour Party have not been in power since 2010.
It also suffered a historic loss in the last general election back in 2019, while the Conservatives took home a majority of 80 seats.
This means Labour’s power within Parliament to put pressure on the Tories is relatively minimal as prime minister Boris Johnson rules with a majority in the Commons.
Bruce’s line of questioning also raised eyebrows, as it came just days after widespread outrage at the Tories’ response to the Covid report.
Cabinet minister Stephen Barclay infamously failed to apologise to the public for the Conservatives’ handling of the pandemic only on Tuesday, and said he had not read it before talking about it to the media.
While Tory co-chair Oliver Dowden did say sorry the next day, as did the health secretary Sajid Javid on Thursday, Javid also admitted he had not read the damning findings.
Plenty of people expressed their fury towards Bruce’s attack on Labour on Twitter.
— Mark Conway (@MarkConway87) October 14, 2021
Strange position now being pushed by Fiona Bruce trying to get the opposition to apologise for the actions of the government. #bbcqt
— Nigel Haworth (@nth09) October 14, 2021
Fiona Bruce is bad at her job. #BBCqt
The OBVIOUS question to ask Penny Mordaunt:
"On 3 February 2020, Johnson said he wanted the UK to have the loosest response to Covid.
Do you see any link between that and the failure to lockdown on time and the resulting 20,000 deaths?" pic.twitter.com/zIwPGoo6Qc
— Femi (@Femi_Sorry) October 14, 2021
John ashworth wrote to Matt Hancock a week before demanding a lockdown why is the presenter lying #bbcqt
— Marshall chess (@Marshallchess1) October 14, 2021
— Elliott Bower Bay-Bay (@elliottbower) October 14, 2021
11 years not in govt and #fionabruce#bbcqt#bbc attacking #Labour for failures of the current huge majority govt....does she not understand basics of UK parliament
blame Labour for being so useless in opposition but that's as far as it goes... https://t.co/XpzpaOYZuS
— Paul Rees (@PR610) October 15, 2021
Incredible that Fiona Bruce opens up to the Labour lady "Do you think Labour has anything to apologize for?".
Sure let's go after Labour for this shit show. pic.twitter.com/Zje7KOVOg6
— mick dore (@14thefrog) October 14, 2021
— Rebecca Clifford (@ThaisMoth) October 15, 2021
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.