A government minister awkwardly avoided a TV grilling on coronavirus this morning after he was confronted by a Good Morning Britain reporter live on air.
Justice secretary Robert Buckland was giving an interview to a different organisation on camera beside Jonathan Swain, senior correspondent for ITV's flagship morning show.
Host Piers Morgan said the government "doesn't think GMB viewers are important at this time" and asked Swain if he could ask the minister for an interview, breaking the government's 22-day boycott of the programme.
Piers Morgan (centre), editor of The Mirror, leaves the High Court in London after supermodel Naomi Campbell won 3,500 damages from the newspaper following a ruling that it acted in breach of confidence in publishing details of her therapy at Narcotics Anonymous.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson (left) with Piers Morgan during a party to celebrate the 180th Anniversary of weekly politics magazine The Spectator, held at the Churchill Hyatt Hotel in central London.
Piers Morgan, former Daily Mirror Editor and Arsenal fan
2019 British Academy Britannia Awards - Arrivals - Beverly Hills, California, U.S., October 25, 2019 - Piers Morgan. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Broadcaster Piers Morgan arrives at the BBC to appear on The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain, January 28, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Britain Golf - British Masters - The Grove, Hertfordshire - 12/10/16
Piers Morgan tees off at the 12th hole during the Pro-Am
Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs
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TV personality Piers Morgan and actor Gerard Butler (R) arrive on the red carpet at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington April 27, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ENTERTAINMENT)
Piers Morgan of CNN arrives for a party thrown by Google and the Hollywood Reporter, on the eve of the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, at the W Hotel in Washington, April 27, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA POLITICS)
British talk show host Piers Morgan and former News of the World editor arrives for work at CNN after his British judicial inquiry in Los Angeles, California December 20, 2011. Morgan told a British judicial inquiry on Tuesday that he had never approved phone hacking during his time as a tabloid newspaper editor, and that his published boasts had merely been repeating rumours about journalistic ``dark arts.'' REUTERS/Gus Ruelas (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA)
Piers Morgan, host of "Piers Morgan Tonight," poses during the Turner Broadcasting Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, California January 6, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Model Naomi Campbell (L) walks down the catwalk with British television personality Piers Morgan during the Fashion For Relief Haiti fashion show and auction in London, February 18, 2010. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: FASHION)
Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan takes his seat ahead of the English premier league soccer match between Arsenal and Leicester City at Highbury, London, May 15, 2004. Morgan was sacked after the newspaper conceded that photos they had published of British soldiers abusing an Iraqi were fake. NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT FAPL LICENCE. FOR DETAILS SEE WWW.FAPLWEB.COM REUTERS/Mike Finn-Kelcey MFK/DBP/ACM
Editor of Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper Piers Morgan leaves his home in London, May 14, 2004. Morgan, editor of London's Daily Mirror newspaper, was ousted on Friday over publication of pictures of alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners by British troops that proved to be fake. "The Board of Trinity Mirror has decided that it would be inappropriate for Piers Morgan to continue in his role as Editor of the Daily Mirror and he will therefore be stepping down with immediate effect," the newspaper said in a statement.
Judge Piers Morgan speaks on stage, during the 69th Miss World annual final at the ExCel London.
Lucie Donlan and Piers Morgan at the ITV Palooza at the Royal Festival Hall, South Bank (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid arriving for the ITV Palooza held at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London.
World Eleven Assistant Manager Piers Morgan celebrates with the trophy at the end of the Soccer Aid match at Stamford Bridge, London.
The Prince of Wales meets Piers Morgan during a visit to the London Television Centre, Lambeth, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Royal Television Society.
Embargoed to 2030 Wednesday March 1 Piers Morgan arrives at the Design Museum in London for the launch of the new Range Rover Velar.
Eamonn Holmes and Piers Morgan (right) attending the ITV Gala at the London Palladium. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday November 19, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ ITV. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire
Kevin Pietersen (left) and Piers Morgan take part in the BGC Annual Global Charity Day at Canary Wharf in London.
Celia Walden and Piers Morgan at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards in Berkeley Square, London.
Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden during the National Television Awards 2010, at the 02 Arena, London.
Katy Perry with the award for Aussie Hare Care Newcomer and Piers Morgan, at the Glamour Woman of the Year Awards 2009, at Berkeley Square Gardens, W1
Piers Morgan arrives at the Spectator and GQ 200th Anniversary Party ÐÊPolitics Meets Style, at Sir Rocco Forte's Brown's Hotel in central London.
Piers Morgan and Konnie Huq launch the UK's top 100 'green-agers' who will take part in the npower Climate Cops programme, London.
Fearne Cotton and Piers Morgan during a photocall to launch npower's search to find 'green-agers' across the UK to take part in it's Climate Cops programme, in Regents Park, central London.
Piers Morgan (L) and Andrew Neil attending the Grand Final of Miss Great Britain 2007, held at Grosvenor House hotel in central London.
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Swain responded: "Piers, that request has already been put in when he arrived about 10 minutes ago.
"He's with one of our competitors at the moment giving chapter and verse about how well the government are doing."
Once the interview had finished, Swain approached Buckland to ask if he would grant an interview for GMB – and he appeared to agree.
However, Buckland told Swain that he was unable to do the interview at that time and would be back in an hour and 40 minutes, adding that he was a GMB fan.
After the time had elapsed, Swain once again approached Buckland, who was sipping coffee.
But the interview did not go ahead as Swain told Morgan and co-host Susanna Reid: "He's actually walking off as we speak... who knows, fingers crossed."
Tensions between GMB and the government have risen during the coronavirus pandemic following a series of heated arguments on air.