Green party leader has car crash interview - how damaging was it?

Natalie Bennett

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett was woefully underprepared and gave an excruciatingly awkward interview. Bennett has worrying similarities to an unsuccessful previous UKIP leader.

The Green Party have seen a lot of success over recent months, with their membership growing to over 54,000, and the Greens beating the Liberal Democrats to fourth place in most polls. But yesterday their leader, Natalie Bennett, gave a truly amateurish interview, which threatens to undo much of the progress they have made.

On an appearance on LBC radio, Bennett was asked to explain how she would fulfill her party’s key aim of “ensuring everyone has a secure, affordable place to live”. She said this would be achieved by building 500,000 new houses.

It was when the Green Party leader was questioned how this would be paid for that the interview went wrong for Bennett.

Despite saying the policy was fully costed, Bennett failed to say how the money would be raised and when host Nick Ferrari asked her if she actually knew, the response was “No, well, err…”. The interview consisted of a series of long awkward silences, jumbled up figures, and even a coughing fit at the end. It has been described by The Times' political columnist Daniel Finkelstein as the "worst party leader interview ever".

The interview can be heard on LBC’s Audioboo here.

This is not the first time that Natalie Bennett has had a ‘car crash’ interview. In January, on an appearance on the BBC’s Sunday Politics with Andrew Neil, Bennett was unable to account for multibillion pound holes in her party’s plans for a ‘citizens income’, which involved giving every adult £72 a week, regardless of if they were in employment or not.

There’s a striking similarity between the current Green leader and Lord Pearson, who was UKIP’s leader during the 2010 general election. Both replaced popular, media-savvy, and well known faces in Caroline Lucas for the Greens and Nigel Farage for UKIP.

Pearson was a an abject failure for UKIP, barely registering on the public’s radar, and only being remembered for struggling to remember his party’s manifesto – a feature Natalie Bennett also seems to share. Another worrying similarity, for the Green Party, is neither had ever held an elected public office. 

Pearson eventually resigned allowing Farage to take over again, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the same thing happen with Natalie Bennett, and for Caroline Lucas to once again lead the Green Party.