Home Office minister 'fronts up' as she is caught out on police numbers
Victoria Atkins said the figure had slipped her mind - and wisely opted against hazarding a guess.
In Tory MP circles, Victoria Atkins is widely seen as a rising star and a cabinet minister of the future.
The former barrister became the first MP from the 2015 intake to become a minister when she got her Home Office gig in November last year. But even rising Tory stars can occasionally come unstuck (just ask some of the party’s vice chairs).
And thus today Atkins appeared on LBC with Nick Ferrari. She was asked how many police officers are working across the country – and had to admit that she didn’t have a clue.
With the Government insisting that cuts to police numbers are not the main cause of recent spike in fatal stabbings, Atkins’ admission is not exactly a good look. But it could have been worse. At least she wasn’t daft enough to hazard a guess and managed to resist throwing out entirely bogus figures about the police. Unlike a certain Labour shadow home secretary….
The presenter eventually informed the Home Office minister that the number on the tip of her tongue was 123,142.
Nick Ferrari: “You’ll be aware of the number of police officers we have in the country at this time won’t you?”
Victoria Atkins: “Um. Yes. I think. I know in London it’s around 31,000 officers.”
NF: But the whole of the country. You’ll be aware of the figure, won’t you Minister?
VA: You’re testing me, Nick. I’m not going to hazard a guess, I’m just going to front up and say I’m so sorry. That number’s slipped my mind.
NF: You are a Home Office Minister, Minister. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have the figures?
VA: It would be.