Best known for grilling politicians and cutting down celebrities, BBC veteran Andrew Neil appeared to have met his match while interviewing a schoolgirl.
The Daily Politics presenter was left red-faced after 10-year-old Charlotte from Wirrel delivered a cutting jibe towards Mr Neil during a debate about the sugar tax and the “nanny state” on the CBBC programme All Over the Workplace.
When asked by Mr Neil, “You know what I mean by the nanny state, the government telling you what to do, isn’t this just another example of the government trying to tell you what to do?” Charlotte, helped by a notebook of well-researched notes and statistics, replied: “Well Mr Neil, do you remember on January 31st 1983 when seatbelts were made compulsory?
“It wasn’t a popular idea. People didn’t like it. But do you know how many lives it saved a year? Three hundred lives per year because the government did something.”
Responding, Mr Neil said: “"When I was your age and someone told me not to do something, that usually meant I tried to do it."
To which Charlotte dealt the cutting blow: “Well, maybe you weren’t educated properly enough about health and wellbeing."
Taken aback, the former editor of the Sunday Times humbly replied: “Many people have said that.”
Charlotte appeared on the CBBC special along with Henrietta from Worcester, also 10, who said during the debate on Friday: “If it's saving lives and helping the NHS, I think we should be told what to do.”
The debate took place before George Osborne announced a sugar tax on the soft drinks industry as part of the 2016 Budget.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies