BBC presenter Jeremy Vine has denied suggesting that Gordon Brown was set up by the BBC during the Gillian Duffy ‘bigot-gate’ row.
In a speech at the IPA Effectiveness Awards on Tuesday, Vine said he did not understand how his famous radio interview with a forlorn-looking Brown came to be filmed and then televised on all the major news channels.
Candid footage showed the former Prime Minister despondently holding his head in his hands as he listened back to his unguarded comments about Duffy, the Rochdale pensioner whom he described as “a bigoted woman”.
But Vine has since contacted The Drum to say: “I don't in any way mean to have a sense of humour failure about your piece, but really, the idea that I hinted at a ‘set-up’ is not justified by anything I said [on Tuesday].
“All that happened was that I did an interview with Mr Brown and someone filmed it. A number of chance events intersected. The central story, about his confrontation with Mrs Duffy, happened at another time and place.
“Really – ‘set-up’ - that is just too strong and it doesn't reflect the tone of what was a light-hearted speech to the event where I was speaking.”
The Drum put a series of questions to Vine to clarify his stance but he has declined to take part in an interview. We asked:
* In your speech you suggested that Gordon Brown did not give permission to be filmed. Is this true?
* You said it was not normal BBC practice to film individuals in these circumstances. Is this true?
* You gave the impression that Gordon Brown did not realise he was being filmed; significant as people behave differently behind a radio microphone as opposed to a TV camera. Is this correct?
* You also said it was not clear who decided that a camera should be set up. Is this correct?
* You also remarked on how quickly the film went well beyond the BBC. Was it correct to assume this was unusual?
* Would it have been a broadcast camera in the room, or one normally used for internal housekeeping purposes?
* And who would have made the decision to broadcast it? Would this decision have been made in advance of the interview?