BBC’s ‘shameful’ U-turn lets Johnson face Marr, but he’s still refusing Neil interview

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Boris Johnson will be interviewed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on 1 December, but has still not agreed to a grilling from the broadcaster’s veteran Andrew Neil.

The BBC’s decision to schedule the interview with Marr when the Johnson has still not committed to sitting down with Neil – who Jeremy Corbyn faced last week – has been branded “wrong” and “shameful”.

It had been reported that the BBC had told Johnson he would not be allowed to face Marr unless he also agreed to be interviewed by Neil too.

The decision was widely condemned:

Labour candidates have accused the BBC of “abject surrender” in allowing the Prime Minister to be interviewed by Marr without agreeing to an interview with Neil.

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell accused Johnson of “running scared” of being interviewed by Neil.

He said:

He knows that Andrew Neil will take him apart. He’s running scared. But even if he does it now, he’s played you because he’s pushing it later and later beyond the postal vote returns.

Johnson has repeatedly refused to commit to an interview with Neil, despite other party leaders agreeing to be quizzed.

Corbyn faced a brutal questioning from Neil on allegations of antisemitism within the Labour Party.

Andrew Neil interviews Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Andrew Neil interviews Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson will be in the hot seat to face a televised half-hour grilling from Neil on 4 December, with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage taking his turn on 5 December.

These follow the BBC’s half-hour interviews with SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Corbyn earlier this week, with three million people tuning in on Tuesday night to see the Labour leader face questions.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives and Labour have yet to confirm who will take part in an ITV seven-way debate on Sunday.

Farage will be taking part in the podium debate, the first time he has during the 2019 campaign. Swinson, Sturgeon, Greens co-leader Sian Berry and Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price are all confirmed to be taking part.

However, representatives for Labour and the Conservatives are still to be decided.

Corbyn is scheduled to appear on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on 1 December.

 

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