Watch: Nadine Dorries forgets about Glasgow Commonwealth Games then is distracted by off-camera altercation
UK Government sports secretary Nadine Dorries’ round of interviews about Birmingham’s Commonwealth Games this morning descended into confusion as she first forgot about the previous games held in Glasgow and was then was distracted by an off-camera altercation.
Over the next 11 days more than 5,000 athletes from 72 nations – including Wales – will compete in 280 events across 19 sports.
But the opening day got off to a shaky start after the minister in charge first told BBC News that the Commonwealth Games was the biggest such event in the UK since 2012, which drew a rebuke from Scotland which had hosted the games just eight year ago.
“We’ve not had a sense of sporting occasion like this since the 2012 Olympics,” she said, despite the Commonwealth Games having been held in Glasgow just in 2014.
In the next interview, speaking to Sky News, she was interrupted by an off-camera altercation.
Ms Dorries was speaking to Sky News live from Birmingham when the sound of a dispute could be heard in the background.
“I’m sorry Kay, the Government… I’m afraid we’re going to have to go now,” she said.
She told the presenter “the cameraman’s in a bit of trouble”.
A man could be heard shouting: “Touch me then? You can’t because they’ll have you arrested for assault.”
Well that was awkward.
— Adam Cailler (@acailler) July 28, 2022
Ms Dorries said: “He’s not touching you.”
The man responded: “He can’t touch me madam, what do you mean he ain’t touching me? He can’t, I’ll have him arrested in five seconds flat.”
Ms Dorries told viewers: “The cameraman did not touch him.”
Security staff were called to respond to the incident.
Ms Dorries said later: “Eventful start to the media round today but so glad to be here in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games and to see the amazing impact the Government’s £600 million investment has had on the city and region.
“Fantastic atmosphere — can’t wait for the opening ceremony tonight!”
The Commonwealth Games open today, promising to be the biggest sporting festival in the UK since the London Olympics a decade ago.
The event will open in Birmingham with the Prince of Wales in attendance, representing the Queen.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the city is “buzzing” and defended the expense of hosting the games at a time when the country is facing a cost-of-living crisis.
The event had a £778 million budget, funded by the Government and Birmingham City Council.
Ms Dorries rejected claims it was a “vanity project” and stressed the importance of the Commonwealth as a trading and geopolitical bloc.
Birmingham was awarded the games after scheduled host Durban in South Africa pulled out over financial problems.
Ms Dorries told Sky News: “It’s not a vanity project… This is hugely important.
“Are you saying we shouldn’t have the Commonwealth Games? I think we are proud and honoured to have picked up the baton when it was dropped elsewhere in the world and to continue to run these Commonwealth Games in the amazing way that we have done.
“Everybody here – thousands of people – are extremely proud, including the volunteers behind me right now, extremely proud of what we’re doing.”
Ms Dorries told LBC: “The city is buzzing, it’s alive. It reminds me of the 2012 Olympics. The feeling in Birmingham and the West Midlands is incredibly upbeat and positive. ”
She added: “I think the Commonwealth today is more important than ever, particularly given what’s happening in Ukraine and with Russia and also with China.”
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