The exchange between Andrew Marr and Shami Chakrabarti hit the headlines a few weeks ago on account of Marr's sudden and aggressive 'Don't patronise me' comment as he waved his notes towards her. I was moved to put an official complaint into the BBC and have now had a response. The BBC reveal that after the interview, and presumably after the social media reaction, Marr contacted Chakrabarti to say it was only 'robust' questioning.
My complaint summary: unprofessional behaviour amounting to bullying
Full Complaint: The moment when Andrew Marr interviewing Shami Chakrabarti exclaimed 'Don't patronise me' and left her visibly shaken. In my view losing his temper in this way and adopting an intimidating tone amounted to bullying and sexism; revealing bias against intelligent, young women who stand up for themselves. Such behaviour was not evident in his interviews on the same programme with male politicians.
Andrew used his interview with Shami Chakrabarti, Shadow Attorney General, to explore Labour’s position on the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement negotiated by the Prime Minister. The Labour leadership have said they don’t support this deal. Andrew sought to clarify what areas of this deal Labour had issue with, what they would seek from an alternative agreement and the logistics of how they would achieve this.
When interviewing any politician from any party, Andrew’s intention is to scrutinise their position on any given issue. Andrew didn’t intend anything other than to robustly question Baroness Chakrabarti on the proposed Brexit deal. He contacted her to make this clear afterwards.