Helle Thorning Schmidt: Former Danish PM hailed for magnificent admonishment of Labour MP husband Stephen Kinnock in BBC documentary

'Why are you doing this now? What are you going to say? You don't know anything'

Tuesday 21 November 2017 14:35
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Ex-Danish PM Helle Thorning Schmidt tells MP husband off for interview on 2017 election night

The former Prime Minister of Denmark and wife of Stephen Kinnock has received widespread praise for her common-sense admonishment of the Labour MP as the general election exit poll revealed Jeremy Corbyn had defied his – and many others’ – predictions.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish premier between 2011 and 2015, is seen telling her husband he should not be speaking to the media before the election result is clear.

As the MP is about to conduct an interview with the BBC, Ms Thorning-Schmidt asks: “Why are you doing this now? Why? What are you going to say?”

Mr Kinnock, the son of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, replies: “Umm…I don’t know.”

He asks his wife if she thinks he should delay the interview.

“Yes, you should wait”, she instructs him. “You don’t know anything. It looks like we’ve had really good turnout here, which is amazing.”

Ms Thorning-Schmidt then quietly instructs her husband what he should say.

She says: “Just talk about this: it looks like turnout is up here, I’m hoping lots of young people have come out to vote, I’m hoping this will be a new chance for Labour. And we fought a positive campaign.

“Just keep it to the campaign – nothing about what you thought Jeremy would say. Keep it simple.”

Mr Kinnock appears to agree, saying “yeah” before returning to give the interview.

The footage was broadcast during a BBC documentary titled Labour – The Summer that Changed Everything. The programme charted the fortunes of several anti-Corbyn Labour MPs throughout the general election campaign earlier this year.

Earlier in the programme, Mr Kinnock, the Aberavon MP, had predicted the June 8 poll would “not be a good night” for Labour.

“On 9 June, Jeremy is going to have to take a long look in the mirror,” he said. “It will be a tough personal choice for him, I’m sure.”

Instead, Labour increased its vote share by 10 per cent and gained 30 seats.

Footage shows anti-Corbyn MPs exit poll reactions from 2017 election

Having apparently taken on board the wise counsel proffered by his spouse - an established international stateswoman - Mr Kinnock decides to opt out of a second interview.

While the documentary focused on Labour MPs and their feelings about the election, many viewers felt Ms Thorning-Schmidt emerged as the real star of the show.

One wrote on Twitter: “How do I vote for Kinnock’s wife please? She seems relatively smart.”

Another said: “I was most impressed with Stephen Kinnock’s wife.”

Elsewhere in the documentary, anti-Corbyn MPs including Mr Kinnock were shown expressing shock and disbelief as the exit poll suggested Labour had done better than any of them predicted.

Mr Kinnock looked stunned, staring at the television screen as his wife points out: “That’s a hung Parliament.”

The programme also featured MPs Lucy Powell, Ruth Cadbury and Sarah Champion, of all whom had been critical of Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

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