Question Time viewers slam Emma Barnett after host asked Angela Rayner if Labour would 'nationalise sausages'

Emma Clarke
Angela Rayner and Emma Barnett Question Time Composite 09.12.19

Question Time host Emma Barnett has been criticised online for asking Labour’s Angela Rayner if the party would “nationalise sausages” if they won the general election.

Representatives from all seven parties - including Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson and Brexit Party's Nigel Farage - sat in the hot seat for the special episode of Under-30s Question Time on Monday.

Ms Rayner, shadow education secretary, also appeared on the show, which saw members of all parties face questions on everything from the NHS to Brexit.

While there was a lot to dissect from the episode, there was one question in particular which presenter Ms Barnett asked that riled up viewers watching at home.

Addressing Ms Rayner, Ms Barnett asked whether the Labour Party would “nationalise sausages” if they won the election and referred to it as “the party of the Big State”.

The presenter asked: "Angela, as the party of big state, you're talking about your first hundred days today. And what would you say in direct response to Aiden, about stopping people from eating meat?

She replied: "We have to encourage people to make good choices for our climate and our environment, first of all, and the individual level, and actually my young kids are much more aware of that than my generation was.

"And we have to get real because climate emergency is a real problem. Climate change is a problem despite what Nigel thinks."

But the presenter cut in to ask: "Would you nationalise sausages?"

After the audience laughed, Ms Rayner rolled her eyes and said: "No."

Viewers were quick to react online, with people calling out the presenter for her “weird” probe.

One person wrote on Twitter: "Emma Barnett just asked Angela Rayner if they would nationalise sausages. BBC standards have fallen quite badly."

Another added: "I used to have a lot of time for Emma Barnett and her incisive interviewing before this election, but her incredulity over billionaires and her nonsense nationalise sausages line tonight with Angela Rayner has just shown her to be another BBC establishment stooge."

A third chimed in: "Emma Barnett decides to call Labour 'the party of the Big State' and asks if it wants to 'nationalise sausages'.

"Is this her brief? The BBC must be SO proud of its presenters and journalists today."

Another questioned the "really weird moment when Angela Rayner was explaining the importance of acting on the climate emergency and the BBC moderator interrupted her with 'would you nationalise sausages?'"

However, others praised the journalist and compared her debate-leading skills to fellow Question Time host, Fiona Bruce.

One wrote: "Emma Barnett should host Question Time all the time, she's so much more with it than Fiona Bruce."

Another said: "Mate, if I was Fiona Bruce I'd be on the phone to the police to report a robbery because Emma Barnett is absolutely STEALING the show here."

During the show, the presenter also attacked Labour's Brexit plan, saying: "We've gone through what you've all said in public and we're trying to figure out is Labour the party of remain or the party of leave. Your leader has said he'll be neutral."

To which the shadow education secretary replied: "Jeremy Corbyn said he'd be an honest broker in it."

She continued: "One of the things I find very frustrating is that people think we're trying to stop Brexit. That's not what we're trying to do. We've not been in Government, we've tried to work with Government.

"They put their red lines from the start, which we've been pragmatic and said we'd have to have close alignment with Europe. We'd have to have a customs union and single market."

Ms Rayner added: "We've said that because unless we do that our trade with Europe and the Northern Ireland border will still be an issue. We haven't had the opportunity to do that.

"People feel that they were lied to, slogans on a bus and everything else."

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