Calls for broadcasters to be patriotic over Brexit branded ‘sinister’

The comments by Andrea Leadsom were branded sinister by Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
The comments by Andrea Leadsom were branded sinister by Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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Calls by a Cabinet minister for broadcasters to be “patriotic” over Brexit have been branded “sinister” by Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom made the remarks on BBC Newsnight. She said: “It would be helpful if broadcasters were willing to be a bit patriotic.

“The country took a decision, this government is determined to deliver on that decision.”

Newsnight anchor Emily Maitlis hit back at the minister by asking her if she was being accused of being unpatriotic because she questioned whether Prime Minister Theresa May was in a position of strength in dealing with EU counterparts.

Maitlis said: “Are you accusing me of being unpatriotic for questioning how negotiations are going, questioning whether you have the position of strength that she said she wanted?”

The minister replied: “I’m not accusing you of anything, Emily. I’m simply saying we all need to pull together as a country. We took a decision a year ago today to leave the European Union, we have a very strong hand and we are very well prepared for the negotiations.”

Farron branded the comments “stupid” and called for an apology. He said: “This is a sinister threat to the free media.”