Michael Howard has claimed that he could not recall the name "Baybaşin".
Shadow Home Secretary
"Did you threaten to overrule him?"
On 13 May 1997, BBCNewsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman interrogated Shadow Home Secretary Michael Howard about the controversial dismissal of the head of the prison service, Derek Lewis, by repeatedly asking the same question: "Did you threaten to overrule him?" and not getting an answer.
Twenty years later in August 2017, the former Tory leader, who now sits in the House of Lords, sought to explain why he had not given Paxman a straight answer at the time:
"Look, I was being asked these questions by Jeremy years after the event.
"This interview took place during the 1997 Conservative Leadership campaign. These events had happened two years earlier. I’d been campaigning all day, I hadn’t remotely been thinking about Derek Lewis or prisons, I’d been thinking about the Tory Leadership…
"This is not an excuse but perhaps an explanation. At the end of the day, long day when you’re tried, you know what these days are like, that – I wasn’t able to go back over the history and so I answered in my own way, as the phrase goes."
Lord Howard has previously described the grilling as “not the most enjoyable experience ever” while political commentators frequently refer back to it.
When Paxman stood down from Newsnight in 2014 The Guardian called the 1997 interview "a masterclass in persistence, even if it merely led to a very uncomfortable stalemate".