WATCH: Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson in live radio clash with John Humphrys over Carrie Gracie row
Jo Swinson has clashed with veteran BBC journalist John Humphrys over comments he made in the wake of Carrie Gracie's resignation as the corporation's China editor.
The Lib Dem deputy leader stunned Mr Humphreys during a live interview on Radio Four's flagship Today programme by asking if he had apologised to his colleague, who quit last month in protest at her pay being less than senior male BBC journalists.
In an off-air conversation with BBC US editor John Sopel, which was caught on a live microphone and then leaked, Mr Humphrys said: “Oh dear God. She’s actually suggested that you should lose money – you know that don’t you?”
At the end of her interview about sexual harassment at Westminster, Ms Swinson said: "While I've got you hear John, can I just ask have you apologised to Carrie Gracie for the remarks you made about her courageous stance on equal pay?"
Mr Humphrys replied: "I wrote an email to Carrie Gracie immediately after that exchange - yes I did as a matter of fact, and she replied. Quite what this has to do with what we're discussing here I fail to see, but there we are. That has answered your question."
The East Dunbartonshire MP shot back: "It wouldn't be the first time that a question has been thrown in at the end of a conversation."
A clearly-annoyed Mr Humphrys responded: "It wouldn't, but usually they are slightly more relevant. This is entirely irrelevant. But I answered your question."
Watch the exchange below:
The incident comes weeks after Tracey Crouch reportedly declined to be interviewed on the Today programme after the initial recording was unearthed.
The sports minister, who would not comment on the issue when contacted by The Guardian, told friends that a similar conversation between two male ministers would have sparked demands for an apology or that they be sacked.
Former Tory minister Nicky Morgan was quoted in the paper as saying she too would now “think twice” about appearing on the programme, while Labour’s Stella Creasy said MPs wanted to “show solidarity” with Carrie Gracie.