Andrew Neil Calls Out Boris Johnson For Avoiding General Election Interview In Powerful TV Message

Andrew Neil Calls Out Boris Johnson For Avoiding General Election Interview In Powerful TV Message

The BBC’s Andrew Neil has issued a challenge to Boris Johnson to commit to an interview with him in a powerful straight-to-camera monologue.

Johnson has ignored repeated calls to agree to the same 30-minute interrogation other party leaders have faced with the BBC’s fearsome broadcaster.

In the key section of his message, Neil said the theme running through the questions he would ask is “trust”, and why “in so many times in his career, critics and sometimes even those close to him, have deemed him to be untrustworthy”.

Talking about his leader interviews, the journalist said: “There is of course still one to be done – Boris Johnson, the prime minister.

“We have been asking him for weeks now to give us a date, a time, a venue. As of now, none has been forthcoming.

“No broadcaster can compel a politician to be interviewed. But leaders’ interviews have been a key part of the BBC’s prime-time election coverage for decades.

“We do them on your behalf to scrutinise and hold to account those who would govern us. That is democracy.”

Neil quipped: “It is not too late. We have an interview prepared. Oven-ready, as Mr Johnson likes to say.”

He concluded by saying: “The prime minister of our nation will at times have to stand up to President Trump, President Putin, President Xi of China. So it was surely not expecting too much that he spend half an hour standing up to me.”

Interviews with Neil have proved to be devastating encounters for Johnson’s opponents. 

Jeremy Corbyn’s interview with Neil, described as a “bloodbath” and “brutal” by commentators, saw the Labour leader taken to task over anti-Semitism allegations, Brexit and his spending plans. 

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, meanwhile, was forced to apologise for backing austerity policies like the bedroom tax when her party was in coalition with the Conservatives. 

The full monologue:

“That concludes our fourth leaders interview. There is still one to be done, Boris Johnson, the prime minister.

“We have been asking him for weeks now to give us a date, a time, a venue. As of now, none has been forthcoming. No broadcaster can compel a leader to be interviewed but it has been a key part of the BBC’s prime-time election coverage for decades. We do them to scrutinise and hold to account those who would govern us. That is democracy.

“We have always proceeded in good faith that the leaders would participate and in every election they have, all of them, until this one. It is not too late. We have an interview prepared, oven ready as Mr Johnson likes to say.

“The theme running through our questions is trust and why, in so many times in his career in politics and journalism, critics and sometimes even those close to him have deemed him to be untrustworthy. It is relevant to what he is promising us all now.

“Can he be trusted to deliver 50,000 more nurses when almost 20,000 in his numbers are already working for the NHS? He promises 14 new hospitals and only six are scheduled to be built by 2025. Can he believed when he says another 34 will be built in the five years after that? Can he be trusted to fund the NHS properly when he uses a cash figure of an extra £34 billion. After inflation the additional money promised amounts to £20 billion? He vows that the NHS will not be on the table in any trade talks with America - but he vowed to the DUP, his unionist allies in Northern Ireland, that there would never be a border in the Irish Sea, and that is as important to the DUP as the NHS is to the rest of us. It is a vow his Brexit deal would seem to break.

“Now he tells us he has always been an opponent of austerity. We would ask him for evidence of that and want to know why an opponent of austerity would bake so much of it into future spending plans. We would ask why with the proposed increase in police numbers would only take us back to the future, back to where we were before austerity began.

“Social care is an issue of growing concern and in July he said he had prepared a plan for social care. We would ask him why that plan is not in his manifesto.

“Questions of trust. Questions we would like to put to Boris Johnson so you can hear his replies. But we can’t, because he will not sit down with us.

“There is no law, no Supreme Court ruling, that can force him to participate in an interview. But the prime minister of our nation will at times have to stand up to President Trump, President Putin, President Xi of China. So it was surely not expecting too much that he spend half an hour standing up to me.”

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