UK Politics

Election blind dates: Gina Miller and Godfrey Bloom

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Media captionGina Miller and Godfrey Bloom went on an election blind date

What happens when two strong-minded individuals from opposite sides of the political debate sit down for dinner?

To find out, the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme has organised a series of political blind dates for the general election campaign.

Businesswoman Gina Miller become the figurehead in the case to get Parliament to vote on the Brexit process, while former UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom is known for his controversial remarks.

They went into the meal without knowing who they would be meeting.

But did they get on?


Gina Miller

Describe yourself: I'm Gina Miller, an investment manager and philanthropist - but I'm probably best known for taking the government to court over triggering Article 50 without a vote in Parliament.

Background: I was born in what was British Guiana but came to the UK at the age of 10 and have lived here ever since. I wanted to enter the world of law but ended up going into business and I've now launched my seventh company.

Political beliefs: My voting history has been Labour but I admit on this occasion I will be voting Lib Dem. I think we need to put aside our tribalism and, because it's all about Brexit, I think the Lib Dem candidate in my constituency has the best chance of holding the government to account.

How was your date?: Not what I was expecting. It was a bit of a surprise to see who it was. I thought it would be someone like Michael Gove - someone nearer my age, not that much older! A toy boy would have been fine.

First impression: I think his bark is worse than his bite. Once you sit down with someone and have a conversation you can make people much more understanding of where you come from. I think he already had quite set views on who I was and what I stood for, but I hope I got him to a much more reasonable place.

What did you agree on?: I was very surprised how vigorously anti-Theresa May he was. We both had doubts about her ability to do the job and head up negotiations.

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Media captionGina Miller: 'The PM hasn't done her homework'

What did you disagree on?: He doesn't think the EU is capable of evolving. We disagree on that completely. He seemed so emotionally attached to Brexit as an issue. I felt there was a bit of anger about me being involved with it - as in how dare you presumptuous young woman speak out on this issue.

And I think he sees women as a negative rather than a positive in the workplace. If I'd pushed him more on his views on women in the workplace we would have got into disagreement. I was tempted to ask him about his comments that women don't clean behind the fridge enough. But if I'd gone into the room angry and aggressive I'd probably just be confirming his views.

Best thing: I was very glad that he didn't shout at me or belittle me. I've had that on numerous occasions from other people. I think it's a good thing when people with different perspectives can have a conversation. I came away thinking it was really good to have done it.

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Media caption'Are you calling Brexit voters stupid?'

Awkward moments: When he asked me why I wasn't campaigning when we went into the EU - that made me smile. I've had that comment before. I was 10 at the time, I was in school!

Describe him in three words: Rigid, pompous, removed.

Marks out of 10: The lunch was eight out of 10, him probably four or five.


Find out more

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Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 BST on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel.

Tomorrow's election blind date will be the SNP's Tommy Sheppard and comedian - and former adviser to ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband - Ayesha Hazarika.


Godfrey Bloom

Describe yourself: I'm Godfrey Bloom and I was an MEP for Yorkshire for 10 years. I'm a research economist by profession. I was a founder member of UKIP and a fairly significant donor.

Political beliefs: My political views are classic liberal in the old sense. One might almost suggest Gladstonian. I am not a conservative, I'm not a socialist, there is nothing much for me in this election to vote for.

How was your date? Tremendous. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Absolutely great fun.

What did you talk about? Obviously Brexit. We talked about the exit strategy - that was a fundamental point of disagreement. I believe that sooner or later we're just going to have to walk away. She believes they want to reform. But then I'm old, I'm cynical, she might be right.

What did you agree on? We agreed on women, we don't believe in quotas for women. We both believe in promotion for women, we both believe in supporting women in business, but for the same reasons - and that is from professional expertise, merit.

Was there anything about Gina Miller that surprised you? No, because I happened to catch an interview she did with Nigel Farage and I thought 'she'll leave you punching air if you're not careful. If you get hostile and sort of look a bit blokey, a bit rugby club-y, it won't cut the mustard here'. I hope I'm enough of a gentleman not to have done that.

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Media captionGodfrey Bloom: 'Why can't we leave the EU now'

What was her most convincing argument? I think she convinced me that the private citizen does have a role to play, whether you're in an elected position or not.

Did she say anything that made you angry? No, not at all, as there was too much area of agreement, because every time we might disagree with each other, and get a bit feisty, we moved on to something else on which we agreed.

Best thing about her? There was no worst thing actually and I think it would be ungallant of me to say so even if there were.

Would you willing to see her again? Yes, I'd be delighted, if she were paying. I'm just an old age pensioner now, I can't afford it.

Describe her in three words: Can I do it in four words? Clubbable, for a woman. I suppose nobody uses the word any more do they? It means somebody you'd be relaxed about going out with and having a pint. Although she clearly isn't the sort of person that drinks pints, but I'd be very happy to.

Marks out of 10? It seemed like a 10 but then I haven't seen the edited edition. I haven't been yet done up like a kipper, have I?


Watch more election blind dates

Find out what happened when...

Nigel Farage went on a date with journalist - and Boris Johnson's sister - Rachel Johnson

Food blogger Jack Monroe went on a date with Made in Chelsea's Toff

Strip club owner Peter Stringfellow went on a date with historian Mary Beard

Conservative politician John Whittingdale went on a date with Labour's Jess Phillips

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