Lib Dem leadership hopeful Ed Davey forced to apologise after suggesting journalist 'paid by Number 10'
The Lib Dem MP has apologised for the remarks
Sir Ed Davey has been forced to apologise after he questioned if a journalist was 'paid by Number 10' during a live radio clash.
The leadership hopeful has issued an apology to TalkRadio's Julia Hartley Brewer after he accused her of "doing Boris Johnson's bidding" during a heated live interview.
The exchange came after Sir Ed secured a commitment from Boris Johnson to hold an independent inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, but hit out at the broadcaster after she suggested NHS chiefs could also face blame for decisions taken during the crisis.
Sir Ed said: "Don't do Boris Johnson's bidding. Are you in the pay of Number 10, Julia?"
The TalkRadio presenter hit back, asking: "How dare you ask that question?"
But Sir Ed laughed at her response, saying: "I dare Julia, I dare, because you are doing their job for them."
The tense back-and-forth continued with Ms Hartley Brewer saying she had been "very critical" of both the Health Secretary and Dominic Cummings, to which Sir Ed joked: "I'm delighted to hear it, I must have missed the programme."
But the comments provoked a major backlash, with Ms Hartley Brewer tweeting: "For the record, [Sir Ed] has texted me to apologise for this comment."
The Lib Dem MP, who is currently the party's acting leader, is facing off against fellow MP Layla Moran for the top spot, with the contest set to run until 27 August.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe