Tory Minister Who Asked If Rwanda And Congo Were Different Countries Says It Was 'A Rhetorical Question'

Chris Philp
Chris Philp James Manning - PA Images via Getty Images

A Tory minister who was mocked after he asked if Rwanda and Congo were different countries has insisted it was “a rhetorical question”.

Chris Philp also said he had been “struggling to hear” when he appeared on Question Time on Thursday night.

The policing minister has faced ridicule on social media since the embarrassing gaffe.

He was facing questions on the government’s Rwanda deportation plan when a member of the audience asked whether relatives from Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could be sent to the neighbouring country.

“No, I think there’s an exclusion on people from Rwanda being sent from Rwanda,” replied Philp.

“They’re not from Rwanda, they’re from Congo,” the audience member replied.

Philip then asked: “Well ... Rwanda is a different country to Congo, isn’t it?”

On BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg this morning, the presenter asked the minister: “Chris, I have to ask you, what was really going on there? Did you really not know or was it one of those moments of live television?”

Philp replied: “You can probably tell from that clip, I was struggling a little bit to hear the question and when I put that point to him I was clearly asking a rhetorical question, rather than a substantive question, as I think any fair minded listener would conclude.”