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Health minister and Faversham MP Helen Whately unable to say how much a nurse earns during LBC interview with Nick Ferrari

Health minister and Faversham and Mid Kent MP Helen Whately got herself in a tangle during a radio interview in which she was unable to say what a new nurse earned.

She was asked in an interview with LBC presenter Nick Ferrari if she was “aware” of the salary.

Helen Whately
Helen Whately

The MP, who is a minister for social care, responded by saying there had been “an increase in pay for newly qualified nurses of 12%”.

Ferrari asked: “What would he or she make then? With that 12%, roughly what would that come in at, minister?”

The MP faltered and said: “Do you know I don’t have that figure at my fingertips.”

Ferrari told her: “I would suggest that perhaps your team might have given you the figure for what a nurse makes. But I’ll tell you, it’s £24,000, give or take for newly qualified. It rises to £33,000 on average, once you’ve got years of training.”

Whately said it was “not just a matter of pay” and the government wanted to “make sure there is the right support” for nurses.

LBC presenter Nick Ferrari
LBC presenter Nick Ferrari

In a previous uncomfortable interview, Mrs Whately's appearance on Good Morning Britain resulted in an Ofcom investigation after complaints were directed at presenter Piers Morgan who was quizzing the MP about the number of deaths in care homes.

The broadcasting regulator effectively cleared Piers Morgan saying his "combative” style was what "viewers would expect him to challenge senior politicians and hold them to account".

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