Politics

Boris Johnson dodges BBC Sunday Morning interview as leadership crisis continues

EMBATTLED Boris Johnson failed to appear on a flagship BBC politics show as the crisis surrounding his premiership continues.

The Prime Minister was due to be questioned by Sophie Raworth on BBC One’s Sunday Morning yesterday as part of a series of interview with party leaders.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey have already appeared in on the programme’s series which began last month.

However, at the start the the programme yesterday the presenter said the Prime Minister would not be appearing as scheduled.

“We were due to have the Prime Minister on the programme this morning in the last of our series of leader interviews but as you can see he is not here. We do hope to speak to him in the coming weeks,” Raworth told viewers.

The SNP seized on the PM’s failure to appear.

HeraldScotland: Nicola Sturgeon during her Sunday Morning appearanceNicola Sturgeon during her Sunday Morning appearance

The SNP MP Tommy Sheppard, the party’s constitutional affairs spokesman 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 incompetence.

“Clearly Johnson has decided that it’s in his interests to make sure that when he speaks to the press it’s in an environment that he can control and walk away from rather than be subjected to detailed quizzing on the BBC’s flagship political programme. He can run but he can’t hide.”

The PM’s non appearance came at the end of a week of turmoil for Downing Street and as he battled to reset his premiership with changes to his team.

Four senior aides quit on a single day last week in the wake of the publication of Sue Gray’s limited report on the “partygate” saga.

Munira Mirza, the head of the PM’s policy unit, was among those who left, penning a stinging resignation letter to accuse the Prime Minister of “scurrilous” behaviour when he falsely linked Starmer to the failure to bring paedophile Jimmy Savile to justice.

Within hours, three more of Johnson’s staff had gone – Dan Rosenfield, his chief of staff, Martin Reynolds, his principal private secretary, and his director of communications, Jack Doyle.

All three were implicated in Downing Street’s response to the lockdown parties that are now being investigated by the Metropolitan police.

Reynolds sent a widely shared email urging staff to “bring your own booze” to one event on 20 May 2020.

Johnson is promising to reset a “dysfunctional” Downing Street and persuade rebellious MPs to gain a sense of perspective on allegations of lockdown-breaking parties.

His new chief of staff and director of communications have begun work and will arrive in Downing Street today promising to restore “grown-up” government.

Steve Barclay is expected to hand many of his Cabinet Office responsibilities to other ministers as he becomes chief of staff. Sources said that he would be spending “most of his time” in No 10.

Downing Street have been approached for a comment.

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