Audience laughs as Penny Mordaunt slips up over Farage query and slams Sunak

Conservative frontbencher Penny Mordaunt appeared to inadvertently slam her boss Rishi Sunak as she faced a grilling on immigration during the latest ITV General Election debate.

Mordaunt faced a drubbing from all sides during the seven-way debate before she took a question from Reform UK leader Nigel Farage. Reform UK recently overtook the Tories according to one YouGov poll after framing themselves as a party that would better tackle immigration levels to the UK.

Farage was in bullish form after a Thursday YouGov poll released just before the debate put Reform UK on 19 percent with the Tories falling behind the party for the first time on 18 percent. While the poll makes for uncomfortable reading for Sunak, it does still fall within the margin of error.

A still from the ITV debate

Nigel Farage was in bullish form during yesterday’s debate
Getty Images)

The inadvertent slamming of Sunak came in response to a question from Farage. He asked: “Given that your 2010 manifesto, your 2015 manifesto, your 2017 manifesto said you’d reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, your 2019 manifesto said immigration would massively reduce and that net 4.3million people have come into the country since that time, why on Earth should anybody believe the fifth manifesto that promises cuts to net migration?”

In response, Mordaunt said: “Because of the record of this Prime Minister.” But the Tory frontbencher appeared to inadvertently slam her boss as the response sparked a wave of laughter from the audience.

Mordaunt did continue her answer, saying that visa applications had fallen by 30 percent under Sunak’s premiership. While it is unclear whether Mordaunt intentionally phrased her answer in a way that would provoke an audience response, she has previously inadvertently slammed a previous Prime Minister.

Mordaunt at the leaders' debate

Penny Mordaunt faced a drubbing from all sides during yesterday’s debate
Getty Images)

During the turbulent Liz Truss premiership, the then-Tory leader was widely mocked following the fallout of her calamitous mini-budget with many poking fun at her apparent dodging of public scrutiny by claiming she was “hiding under a desk.”

During an October 2022 session of the House of Commons, Mordaunt stepped in to answer question from Keir Starmer and other MPs. Facing a barrage of questions, Mordaunt was forced to insist there “has not been a coup,” adding: “The Prime Minister is not under a desk.”

Her response triggered mockery and laughter from the opposition benches before Mordaunt went on to claim there was a “genuine reason” and a “good reason” why Truss was not present.