Andrew Marr: ‘Nothing will happen’ with Scottish independence
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Andrew Marr has made a name for himself at the BBC for tough interviewing and a long career presenting his own show on Sunday mornings. ‘The Andrew Marr Show’ regularly sees Government ministers and party leaders enduring a grilling, with some getting fiery. Former Prime Minister David Cameron was on the receiving end of a sharp put down when Mr Marr told him to “shut up”.
The remarkable moment occurred during an interview in 2014.
Mr Cameron, then the leader of the Coalition Government, was discussing schoolgirls who had been kidnapped in Nigeria before Mr Marr stepped in.
He said: “I, I Prime Minister shut up I’m afraid. I’m really, really sorry, we have run out of time.”
Despite the abrupt intervention, Mr Cameron responded calmly and apologised.
Fellow guest, CNN’s chief international correspondent Christine Amanpour, grimaced at the camera as Mr Marr concluded the programme.
A spokesman for the BBC could not confirm exactly what was said when approached at the time, but confirmed Number 10 did not lodge a complaint and described the incident as a “non-issue”.
She added: “There were 26 viewer complaints, which is extremely low considering the amount of people who watch the programme.”
Less than two weeks prior to this, Mr Cameron had clashed with former Speaker of the House John Bercow when they appeared on Question Time.
He shouted “I haven’t finished!”, prompting Mr Bercow to quip that “the Prime Minister has finished and he can take it from me that he’s finished”.
In the same year, Mr Marr opened up about his career in an interview with The Guardian.
On the transfer of information between politicians and journalists, he said: “I don’t normally go round threatening and flattering people – but – yes. A lot of how journalists try to get information out of people is extremely devious.
“And to be a good journalist you have to be devious. I mean, I got a big story at the time of the big Brown-Blair split over the euro by implying to Brown’s people at No 11 that I was being briefed by Blair’s people, and vice versa – and so both thought that the other side were briefing me and were p***** off about it, and therefore gave me more information than they might otherwise have done.
“It is ruthless, but you don’t get stories otherwise. And you do have to oil up to people. You have to ingratiate yourself with people and the crucial thing is that you then sometimes have to betray them.”
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He also opened up on his home of Scotland amid an ongoing independence debate.
Mr Marr said he had people close to him who are both for and against secession.
The journalist grew up in Dundee – his father was a chartered accountant for the investment trusts set up to look after the cascade of money made by a few Dundee families in the jute trade.
Meanwhile, his mother studied at Cambridge, where she knew Sylvia Plath, but was thrown out for marrying his father, who was not a “university man”.
Mr Marr added: “My family are all fiercely unionist and my friends are all fiercely yes, so I get both sides.
“I don’t feel less Scottish being in London, and I wonder – I mean, I immerse myself in Scottish writing, Scottish culture, Scottish music – am I more or less Scots than someone in Scotland who’s never heard of Neil Gunn? I would say I’m at least as Scottish as they are.”
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