John Whittingdale defends Boris Johnson for avoiding Andrew Neil interview

7 December 2019, 12:08

Boris Johnson has received criticism for avoiding an interview by Andrew Neil - but John Whittingdale came to his defence.

Matt Frei asked why Boris Johnson has been so afraid of Andrew Neil's interview.

Whittingdale responded: "I haven't sat down and counted but I think it's something like over 100 interviews and he's given big interviews to people like Nick Robinson last night in the debate, Andrew Marr."

He continued: "Broadcasters seem to feel they have this divine right to have people come before them."

Matt Frei said that it's about "accountability in democracy".

Whittingdale replied: "I don't think broadcasters should be able to dictate exactly what happens in a general election campaign."

Broadcasters shouldn't dictate which interviews Boris Johnson should do, John Whittingdale says
Broadcasters shouldn't dictate which interviews Boris Johnson should do, John Whittingdale says. Picture: PA

Matt Frei said: "Well, I don't think they're dictating it. I think they want the maximum degree of accountability and transparency.

"You know, put the big beast of politics on stage and question them about their election promises.

That's hardly a divine right, that's just the way the democracy cookie crumbles."

Whittingdale said that Boris Johnson did partake in a "pretty rough and unfair interview" by Andrew Marr.

He then criticised Andrew Neil for going "slightly too far in his diatribe" about Boris Johnson refusing to attend one of his interviews.

He said that after Boris Johnson's interview by Andrew Marr, he could understand why Boris Johnson might think: 'I'm not going to be subjected to that kind of treatment'

He added: "I do think that interviews have become steadily more aggressive and throwing words around like 'lies' and that is not exactly helping the standing of politicians."

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