Voices: From Steve Baker to Nadine Dorries: Why do our politicians insist on humiliating themselves live on TV?

If you’re a politics nerd, election night is a bit like Christmas. You load up on junk food, get a little tipsy, and at some point you’ll probably get into a fight with your uncle.

Unfortunately, you just couldn’t help yourself, and you’ve opened your biggest present early – an exit poll that predicts a massive 170-seat majority for Labour, and a historically poor performance for the Conservatives. You’ve spoilt yourself, and now you feel a little sick.

So, what else is there? Well don’t you worry – there are still plenty of gifts left in this particular stocking, courtesy of the poor politicians and pundits appearing on the evening’s various election broadcasts. These brave souls have chosen to subject themselves to humiliation after viral humiliation for your viewing pleasure, and for that I salute them.

Take Steve Baker, the Conservative MP for Wycombe who, following the reveal of the exit poll, was told live on television that he had a less than 1 per cent chance of holding his seat.

“I’m sorry to be putting you up here on the screen like this but, you know, we are giving you a less than 1 per cent chance of holding on to your seat,” said BBC host Reeta Chakrabarti to a visibly uncomfortable Baker. The MP squirmed in his chair, his face frozen in the kind of grin the human face can only produce when confronted with sudden, cataclysmic disappointment.

It’s difficult to know exactly what Baker was thinking in that moment, but it may have been something along the lines of “Maybe I should have cancelled my holiday when the campaign was announced after all.” Or maybe he was just trying to figure out which kind of expression it’s most appropriate to make when you find out you’re about to get sacked on national television. If that’s the case, I’d probably disagree with his conclusion, which appeared to be “uncanny, wild smile”.

Or how about Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner, who early in the evening told Clive Myrie that she wasn’t going to “count her chickens” when it came to the election results.

"You say you’re not counting your chickens”, shot back Myrie, a respected BBC journalist who was an embedded correspondent with the Royal Marines during the Iraq war and has also hosted Mastermind. “What kind of chickens might that be? What kind of chickens would you like to see in a future job description in a Keir Starmer government?”

I understand that election night can be long and full of terrors, but this happened shortly after the exit poll – well before our nation’s journalists were given free rein to ask mad, chicken-related questions. At least save the breakdown for the 3am polls, Clive.

The star of tonight’s s***show, though, is Nadine Dorries, who has spent her time as a guest on the Channel 4 broadcast, putting on an absolute masterclass in Being Nadine Dorries.

Appearing on a panel with Alastair Campbell, Dorries branded the former Labour strategist a “sexist” after he told her that she needs to “get over” Boris Johnson. It isn’t the first time Dorries has been accused of such an infatuation, and considering she later boasted about receiving messages from the former prime minister, which she coyly refused to reveal on air, I’d probably be inclined to agree with Campbell’s assessment here.

That wasn’t the end of Nadine’s humiliations, though, as she later had her grammar corrected by Campbell during a disagreement about the number of people granted lordships under Liz Truss.

“She had about five,” Dorries insisted. “She had less than a handful.” “Fewer,” Campbell replied, with the practised air of someone who probably got beaten up a lot in school.

Election night can be difficult for a lot of reasons, so perhaps it isn’t entirely fair to come down on these people for failing to put their best foot forward as the political landscape is violently reshaped around them. Some are losing their jobs, their majorities, and as appears to be the case in a great deal of cases, their minds.

But on the other hand, maybe a little taste of humiliation is good for them. After all, they’ve humiliated this country for long enough.