How 'Labour's attack dog' hit out at Laura Kuenssberg after lacklustre debate

LAURA KUENSSBERG came under fire from 'Labour’s attack dog’ after she chaired a televised debate, it has emerged.

Ms Kuenssberg grilled Jeremy Corbyn, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall on BBC Newsnight’s Labour leadership debate in 2015. All four candidates were accused of a lacklustre performance by viewers, but Labour’s Michael Dugher pointed the finger elsewhere. Mr Dugher, who was Shadow Transport Secretary at the time, was widely known as ‘Labour’s attack dog’ for his work with Gordon Brown’s spin doctor Damian McBride.

The senior Labour politician complained that Ms Kuenssberg “never shut up”, according to The Spectator.

Mr Dugher backed former Leigh MP Mr Burnham in the leadership contest and was later sacked from the Shadow Cabinet in Mr Corbyn’s major reshuffle in January 2016.

His comments attacking Ms Kuenssberg were supported by fellow Labour frontbencher Lucy Powell on Twitter.

Ms Powell previously criticised the BBC’s election coverage, writing a formal complaint over the way they reported on a potential SNP-Labour coalition in the 2015 General Election.

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Labour's Michael Dugher and BBC's Laura Kuenssberg (Image: GETTY)

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BBC Newsnight Labour leadership debate (Image: BBC Newsnight)

She later resigned from Mr Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet in June 2016 and supported Owen Smith in the leadership challenge.

However, she retracted her comments in 2017, saying: "We were wrong about Jeremy Corbyn."

Meanwhile, Ms Kuenssberg was promoted a month after the leadership debate to be the BBC’s political editor.

Ms Kuenssberg joined the BBC in 2000, covering regional news in the North East and Cumbria.

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Laura Kuenssberg was accused of speaking too much during the 2015 leadership debate (Image: BBC Newsnight)

She started reporting on politics in 2003 as political correspondent for Daily Politics and the Today programme, as well as Breakfast and News at Ten.

She became Chief Political Correspondent in 2009, before defecting to ITV in 2011 to fill their new role of business editor.

However, she drifted back to her home at the BBC in 2014 to work on Newsnight and took the top political job in 2015.

She faced intense criticism from Mr Corbyn's supporters in 2016 during the EU referendum, even being hissed at as she tried to ask the Labour leader a question.

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Ms Kuenssberg was hissed at by Mr Corbyn's supporters as she tried to ask a question in 2016 (Image: Guardian / Daily Mail)

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Michael Dugher (L) with Tom Watson and various musicians (Image: GETTY)

Labour’s ‘attack dog’ Mr Dugher worked at 10 Downing Street from 2008-2010 as Chief Political Spokesman for Mr Brown.

After entering the Commons in 2010, he was known for rather mindlessly attacking Tory ministers about wasted money.

According to the Telegraph, Mr Dugher himself wasted £30,000 of taxpayers money tabling 185 parliamentary questions intended to highlight Government waste, only to find in many areas the incumbents were doing better than their Labour predecessors.

For example, in 2013 he was left red-faced when he demanded to know what the rates of sick days were in Eric Pickles’ Communities and Local Government department were and Brandon Lewis informed him it was lower than when Mr Dugher worked in the department.

Mr Lewis, a minister in the department at the time, said that an average of 6.3 days were lost per member of staff in the first quarter of that year compared to 7.0 in 2001 and 7.7 in 2002.

Mr Dugher held senior roles during his stint in Parliament including Shadow Transport Secretary and Shadow Culture Secretary, but did not stand in the 2017 General Election.