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The Deputy Prime Minister has grumpily tried to turn the tables on a journalist, demanding he name the price of petrol and saying “I’m just checking how in touch you are.”

A BBC Breakfast interview with Dominic Raab descended into an extraordinary row after the Justice Secretary was asked the price of a litre of unleaded.

He replied £1.65 – bang on the average pump price of 165.09p as of May 16. But anchor Charlie Stayt told him “it’s gone up more than that” and “in the real world” people are struggling.

The Tory Cabinet minister snapped: “Charlie, you tell me, what’s a litre of unleaded today?”

When Mr Stayt said he’d seen diesel at £1.999 but didn’t name petrol, Mr Raab replied: “I’m just checking how in touch you are. Because last time I filled up it was £1.65, £1.67.”

When Mr Stayt then told him he’d seen a litre of unleaded for £1.68, exasperated Mr Raab shot back: “So I’m right!”

A BBC Breakfast interview with Dominic Raab descended into an extraordinary row ( BBC)

The BBC host tried to recover the situation, saying: “I’m not the one who needs to be making decisions that will affect people’s lives.

“Which is why there is a justification in asking you and your government about the things you’re doing. That’s the only reason I ask those questions.”

Mr Raab responded: “I was just making the point that I was actually right about the cost of a litre of unleaded.

“So your pitch that we’re all out of touch – actually, I do understand how difficult this is.

“Which is why we cut fuel duty by 5p along with all of the other measures we’ve taken.”

The BBC host tried to recover the situation, saying: “I’m not the one who needs to be making decisions that will affect people’s lives” ( BBC)

Mr Stayt replied: “To be absolutely clear, in this interview, I did not say you were out of touch. I’m just trying to get a handle.”

The row broke out when Mr Stayt asked for “the highest petrol, diesel price you’ve seen on your travels”. Mr Raab responded: “Well in terms of diesel I’m not sure because I shipped in my diesel for an unleaded, but I think we’re last time I went to the pumps it was about £1.65 for a litre of unleaded.”

Mr Stayt said: “So it’s gone up more since that, I mean I’m not trying to catch you out, I’m just trying to get a gist of it, because it’s going up.”

It comes amid mounting pressure on Boris Johnson and his Chancellor Rishi Sunak to act now to tackle the soaring cost of living, after inflation hit a 40-year high of 9% in April.

Pump prices are now back to what they were before Rishi Sunak’s 5p fuel duty cut ( In Pictures via Getty Images)

The pair are examining plans such as a new energy bills discount or changes to the tax system but they may only be announced later in the summer.

Despite a 5p fuel duty cut in March, pump prices for unleaded are now back to the level they were just before the cut took force.

The average unleaded price was 165.37p on March 21. It is now 165.09.

Mr Stayt earlier pointed out to Mr Raab that Boris Johnson had boasted he would focus on “crime, crime, crime”, days before it emerged 126 fines had been dished out for Partygate.

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