Emily Maitlis’ new flirtatious interview technique on Newsnight is proving divisive, with some commentators saying she should return to her traditional, and trademark, tough questioning role.
On last night’s programme, the presenter was set to tackle Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
The programme began with Maitlis lighting candles and pouring two glasses of wine as she explained that Starmer was here to answer questions about the Government’s decision to end the lockdown.
“So, Mr Starmer. Or Kier? Do you mind if I call you Kier,” she began. Sir Kier responded that it was fine.
“Kier. It’s a lovely name isn’t it,” continued Maitlis, “in fact, it’s probably my most favourite name. It really gives an impression of strength and, if you don’t mind me saying, you are looking quite beefy yourself there, Minister, have you been working out?”
Sir Keir said that he hadn’t, but he was trying to stay fit and healthy despite the lockdown.
“Well, you look like you have, can I feel your muscles?” she giggled.
Sir Keir tried to demur, but Maitlis was already rubbing her hand up and down his arm, clearly impressed.
“Oh, you have got such big, big muscles, minister. Such very big muscles. In fact, somebody call the fire brigade, because you’re smoking.”
She then sat on Sir Kier’s knee and occasionally played with his hair as they discussed the ending of the lockdown.
Finally, she brought the interview to a close and trailed tonight’s programme which would feature Rishi Sunak who was, Maitlis insisted, looking ‘fit as f**k’.