Green Party leader cancels Doncaster visit after “car crash” radio interview

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has cancelled a visit to Doncaster tonight - after an “excruciating” media interview dubbed the worst political interview ever.

The politician was due to speak to members in the town at the Danum Hotel in a bid to gather votes ahead of the forthcoming General Election.

But she has pulled the plug, saying she is “unwell.”

Bennett was forced to issue a grovelling apology to party members after she gave a radio interview in which she stumbled, stuttered, left long pauses and appeared not to know the answers to questions posed by presenter Nick Ferrari.

She was quizzed by the LBC host on his show yesterday morning but appeared not to know how much her plan to build 500,000 new social rental homes would cost.

The Green leader struggled to explain how the party would pay for their housing policy and Ferrari’s questions were met with frequent silences from Bennett, as well as coughing.

Ferrari was forced to ask at one point: “Are you alright?”

She blamed her disastrous performance on a heavy cold.

Later at a press conference, Bennett admitted that it was “absolutely excruciating in the studio”. “Occasionally one has a mind blank,” she added.

Appearing on the BBC Daily Politics, she issued an apology to party members, admitting she had not done “any kind of job” of presenting the policies.

“I had a very bad interview on housing. I’m very happy to confess that and I’m very sorry to the Green Party members who I didn’t do a good job, any kind of job of presenting our policies on,” she said.

Steven Platt, Doncaster Green Party spokesman, said: “She is a very good speaker and always connects with the audience. Last time she spoke in the town, her speech went down very well.”

The meeting will still go ahead at 6.30pm tonight with Pete Kennedy, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Doncaster North and Andrew Cooper, a long standing Green Party councillor in Kirklees and Yorkshire and Humber Lead Candidate in the European Elections, and Yorkshire and Humber Green Party Regional Coordinator taking questions.

However, Mr Kennedy denied the interview was behind the cancellation and said her appearance had been cancelled last week - and the information had not been communicated to party members until yesterday, when a message was posted on the party’s Facebook group saying she was unwell.

He said: “Natalie’s office had in fact contacted me late last week to cancel her appearance in Doncaster.”