Wednesday 20 February 2019

'Can you imagine asking your partner to marry you?' - awkward moment as BBC puts NZ prime minister on spot

Jacinda Ardern is at the World Economic Forum in Davos

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald via AP
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Mark Mitchell/New Zealand Herald via AP
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Eyebrows were raised when a BBC presenter chose to put New Zealand's prime minister on the spot about marrying the father of her child.

Jacinda Ardern was also questioned about how she juggles running a country and being a mother, and whether she experiences "guilt".

But it was the question about marrying her TV presenter husband that jarred with some viewers.

"Can you imagine asking your partner Clarke Gayford to marry you, or will you wait for him to ask you? asked BBC Two presenter Victoria Derbyshire in an interview with Jacinda Ardern.

The New Zealand public and media reacted by pointing out that it would be highly unusual for a male prime minister to be asked similar questions.

Ms Ardern was forced to laugh off the question and state that she would not propose to Mr Gayford, who is the father of seven-month-old daughter Neve.

Jacinda Ardern, daughter Neve, and partner Clarke Gayford. AP Photo
Jacinda Ardern, daughter Neve, and partner Clarke Gayford. AP Photo

"No, no," she said.

But Derbyshire pushed on, following up with "You're a feminist?"

"Absolutely I'm a feminist, said Ms Ardern. "But I want to put him through the pain and torture of having to agonsie about that question himself.

"No, that's letting him off the hook, absolutely not."

Derbyshire replied: "Fair enough, we await that day."

The wider interview focused on serious matters including Brexit and the murder of backpacker Grace Millane.

Ms Ardern has met Theresa May in London this week and is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos.

She has faced questions about the pressures of motherhood after becoming only the second elected world leader to give birth while in office.

She admitted to Derbyshire that it was "sometimes a struggle" to work and juggle family.

"I'm not superwoman and we shouldn't pretend that we are ... that raises expectations that nobody can meet," she said.

Ms Ardern added that being a prime minister and a new mum were "different roles" but "working beautifully together".

"At the end of a day when it can feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, or at least the weight of your country, it's amazing what just having her giggling at me can do to to bring perspective."

 

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