Labour MP attacks 'shocking' BBC decision to screen leaders interview before Boris Johnson agreed to appear

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the launch of the Scottish Conservative's manifesto during a visit to Fife whilst on the General Election campaign trail.

The BBC has been accused of a “shocking” decision to broadcast interviews with other party leaders before one with Boris Johnson was secured.

The Prime Minister is the only major party leader to have not confirmed a date for an interview with famously forensic journalist Andrew Neil.

Labour MP Lilian Greenwood said the broadcaster should have booked one with the Prime Minister before interviews with Nicola Sturgeon and Jeremy Corbyn were aired this week.

Andrew Neil grilled Mr Corbyn on the BBC on Tuesday night in an interview many on social media described as a “car crash”.

Jeremy Corbyn was grilled for 30 minutes by Andrew Neil on Tuesday night. (PA Images)

But the BBC’s press office confirmed today that Boris Johnson remains the only major party leader not to have fixed a date for an interview.

Ms Greenwood described the decision to broadcast the interviews without Mr Johnson’s interview having been booked as “shocking”.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has been confirmed for December 4 and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage will speak with Mr Neil on December 5, the broadcaster confirmed.

Tuesday evening’s broadcast of Mr Neil’s interview with Mr Corbyn saw the journalist push the Labour leader on anti-Semitism in his party for 10 minutes.

During the interview, he declined to apologise to the Jewish community four times and said he had “developed a much stronger process” for dealing with complaints about anti-Semitism.

He was also grilled on Labour’s tax and spending plans and refused to say if he would have approved the killing of the leader of ISIS.

On Monday, Mr Neil pressed Nicola Sturgeon on the SNP’s health record in Scotland.

Both the Conservative Party press team and the BBC’s press office were contacted for comment this afternoon.

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