Nick Robinson: How I’m approaching my party leader interviews

Nick Robinson

People who follow my interviews often ask me why the interviewees don't simply respond to the questions being asked.

Trust me, I get extremely irritated when I hear politicians sidestep a question and instead recite a scripted response given to them by their party's image consultants. It also annoys me when politicians verbally assault their rivals.

However, I have a strong conviction that there is an immense importance in observing and listening to the individuals who aspire to govern our nation as they are rigorously questioned, examined, and judged based on their agenda, commitment, and character for a prolonged duration.

During the Panorama Interviews, I will be given less than half an hour to inquire the prospective prime minister and their adversaries with relevant queries that you may have wanted to ask if given the opportunity. Share your ideas on Your Voice Your Vote by utilizing the form provided at the conclusion of this article.

It's not possible to include every possible question in this blog section, and you might feel frustrated by the ones that we left out. However, I assure you that the politicians won't receive the questions beforehand, and we'll broadcast their complete answers. The studio won't have any tools like autocues, phones, or adviser notes, so the politicians won't be able to hide from the questions.

I really respect Rishi Sunak, Sir Keir Starmer, Sir Ed Davey, John Swinney, Nigel Farage, Adrian Ramsay and Rhun ap Iorwerth for being willing to participate in the discussion, even though dates haven't been confirmed for all of them. Many leaders in other countries wouldn't take such a risk, since making a mistake or saying the wrong thing could harm their chances of winning votes and gaining power.

I'm not just referring to powerful politicians such as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, who hold the reins of power in their respective countries. I'm referring to people like Boris Johnson, who declined to be interviewed by Andrew Neil during the previous general election.

I was raised in the presence of great interviewers, such as Sir Robin Day and Brian Walden. My initial employment was as a researcher for David Dimbleby and after that, I was promoted to be his producer and editor. Eventually, I had the privilege to work alongside David on election night.

At my commencement on the Today show, John Humphrys was the intimidating figure beside me. Currently, I observe and acquire knowledge from fellow Today member Mishal Husain, Victoria Derbyshire from Newsnight, and also Laura Kuenssberg and Kirsty Wark, along with countless others.

You might be curious about what I consider as a satisfactory interview. Well, it's one where I receive answers from the individuals who desire my vote. If they fail to provide sufficient responses, then I express that to them. The purpose of the interview is to allow them to present their case, not to interrogate them. My goal isn't to search for a moment to catch them off guard and share it on social media. Instead, I concentrate on the major issues our nation faces, not the insignificant conflicts that only gain attention for a brief moment.

In brief, this is a serious discussion that will benefit people who are not accustomed to reading politicians' speeches and breaking them down, like me who does it professionally. It will also help those who are tired of hearing the same overused phrases repeatedly, by providing a clearer picture of the decision we have to make.

When I witnessed my grandfather, a German Jew who escaped the Nazis and later had to flee the Communist regime upon settling in China, attentively tune in to the updates from the BBC, I became inspired to pursue a career in journalism.

I always remember that no matter how much we criticize politicians, we are fortunate to reside in a nation where we control their destiny rather than them controlling ours.

The Nick Robinson-hosted Panorama specials will take place on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 8pm BST on Monday, June 10th.

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