PRIME Minister Tony Blair was embarrassed in front of millions when a Hyndburn youth worker wrong-footed him over the neighbourhood wardens "shambles".
Red-faced Mr Blair stumbled and stammered when Debra Stevenson, 37, confronted him about the loss of the borough's 11 popular pioneering wardens.
Taking part in a Granada Reports special about crime and disorder, Mr Blair declared the Government was winning the war on crime because of extra bobbies and wardens.
But Mrs Stevenson, who was invited to take part by the show's producers, put him right.
She said: "I told him we're losing our wardens and he didn't know what to say. He was gobsmacked. I think he was quite shocked to be honest.
"After the show he was very nice and gave me an autograph but I don't think he will dare mention the wardens again because the answer he gave me was unsatisfactory."
Mrs Stevenson, who lives with husband Jim, 40, and son James, 12, in Burnley Road, Accrington, was applauded by family and friends for grilling the PM.
She said: "The wardens are very important, lots of people think so. I had countless telephone calls from people congratulating me on highlighting the issue. And people seemed pleased he was flummoxed on television."
- This week opposition Labour councillors presented a plan to employ 18 wardens across the borough.
Councillor Jean Battle accused the Tory administration of reducing "one of the best warden schemes in the country to a shambles".
Labour said it would slash funding for area councils to increase the number of wardens, who tackle problems of litter, juvenile nuisance and anti-social behaviour.
But council leader Peter Britcliffe accused the opposition of "political opportunism".
He said: "I am truly appalled by this. We are still doing everything we can to rescue the wardens but I've had no help whatsoever from our partner agencies. We've offered to put money in but only if we're joined by Lancashire County Council, the police and the fire authority."
Five wardens face redundancy in March and the rest are set to lose their jobs next year.