Boris Johnson dodges BBC Sunday Morning interview as leadership crisis continues
EMBATTLED Boris Johnson has not appeared on a flagship BBC political show as the crisis surrounding his prime ministership continues.
The Prime Minister was due to be quizzed by Sophie Raworth on BBC One’s Sunday Morning yesterday as part of a series of interviews with party leaders.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey have previously appeared on the program’s series which started last month.
However, at the start of yesterday’s broadcast, the presenter said the Prime Minister would not appear as scheduled.
“We were supposed to have the Prime Minister on the program this morning in the last of our series of talks with the leaders, but as you can see he is not here. We hope to speak to him in the coming weeks,” he said. Raworth told viewers.
The SNP seized on the non-appearance of the PM.
SNP MP Tommy Sheppard, the party’s spokesman for Constitutional Affairs at Westminster, said: “This is another example of the chaos that is Number 10 Downing Street. The government is in a state of paralysis combined with the ‘incompetence.
“Clearly Johnson has decided it is in his best interests to ensure that when he speaks to the press it is in an environment he can control and walk away from rather than be subjected to. an in-depth quiz on the BBC’s flagship political programme. He can run but he can’t hide.”
The Prime Minister’s non-appearance came at the end of a week of turmoil for Downing Street and as he battles to reset his post as Prime Minister with changes to his squad.
Four senior aides resigned in a single day last week following the publication of Sue Gray’s limited report on the ‘partygate’ saga.
Munira Mirza, the head of the prime minister’s political unit, was among those who left, penning a scathing resignation letter to accuse the prime minister of ‘slanderous’ behavior when he falsely linked Starmer to the failure of the bringing to justice of the pedophile Jimmy Savile.
Within hours, three more of Johnson’s staff were gone – Dan Rosenfield, his chief of staff, Martin Reynolds, his principal private secretary, and his director of communications, Jack Doyle.
All three were involved in Downing Street’s response to the lockdown parties which are currently being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.
Reynolds sent out a widely shared email urging staff to “bring your own booze” to an event on May 20, 2020.
Johnson promises to reset a ‘dysfunctional’ Downing Street and persuade rebel MPs to step back on allegations of lockdown-breaking parties.
His new chief of staff and director of communications have started work and will arrive in Downing Street today promising to restore a ‘mature’ government.
Steve Barclay is expected to hand over many of his Cabinet Office responsibilities to other ministers when he becomes chief of staff. Sources said he would spend “most of his time” at No 10.
Downing Street has been approached for comment.