ITV confirms Prime Minister has refused Julie Etchingham interview

Broadcaster ITV has confirmed that the Prime Minister has turned down a request for a leader’s interview.

Every other leader of Britain’s major political parties has agreed to appear on ITV’s Tonight programme, but Boris Johnson’s team confirmed on Thursday that he would not be taking part in an interview with newsreader and journalist Julie Etchingham.

Labour has accused the Conservative Party leader of “running scared” following his decision to forgo prime time interviews with two of the nation’s biggest political interviewers.

Mr Johnson has so far refused to set a date to be interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Neil, despite his election rivals already agreeing to be scrutinised by the former Sunday Times editor.

“The ITV News team making the Boris Johnson Tonight film made the original bid for the Prime Minister when the election was called,” an ITV spokesman said.

“They have contacted his press team on repeated occasions with times and dates offered to film an interview.

“Boris Johnson’s team have today confirmed he will not be taking part.”

Etchingham PM
Etchingham PM

The 30-minute programme had been scheduled for broadcast on Friday.

ITV has confirmed the Tonight show will still air at 8pm but in a different format to the other leadership interviews.

“The programme will instead feature a profile of the Prime Minister using fresh interviews with other contributors and archive footage,” the spokesman added.

Ian Lavery, chairman of the Labour Party, said: “Boris Johnson thinks he’s born to rule and doesn’t have to face scrutiny.

“He’s running scared because every time he is confronted with the impact of nine years of austerity, the cost of living crisis and his plans to sell out our NHS, the more he is exposed.”

PM selfie
PM selfie

The Tories have been approached for comment.

Previews of Ms Etchingham’s Tonight interview with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made front page news after he appeared to indicate he did not watch the Queen’s annual message on Christmas Day.

Mr Corbyn also said on the programme, due to air on Thursday, that he would be prepared to give up Chequers, the prime minister’s 1,000-acre country residence, to the homeless if he wins the December 12 poll.

During her interview with Tonight, Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson broke down when discussing the death of her father. He passed away a year before she was elected leader.

Mr Johnson featured on ITV screens on Thursday, appearing on the This Morning sofa to be quizzed by presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.

He took a selfie with the pair following the 10-minute interview.