The BBC has stuck to its guns over Boris Johnson’s reticence to undergo an interview with Andrew Neil and has turned down No.10’s suggestion that he appear on Andrew Marr’s show instead.
The national broadcaster announced earlier in the week that it had been “unable to fix a date” for the general election grilling from Neil, widely regarded as an incisive and aggressive interviewer.
The revelation prompted criticism as the BBC had already recorded and broadcast a damaging interview between Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Neil.
WATCH: BBC ‘unable to fix a date’ with Boris Johnson for Andrew Neil interviewMORE – Andrew Neil: ‘I’ll take on Boris Johnson any time, any place, anywhere’Since then, Johnson has been accused by Labour of running scared from Neil, something that he denied when asked about it later on LBC.
It has since been reported that CCHQ then requested that the BBC field Andrew Marr rather than Neil.
But Buzzfeed UK media and politics reporter Mark di Stefano reported a BBC source as saying: “Boris Johnson […] won’t be doing Marr until we have confirmed and announced a date for the Neil interview”.
The Indepdendent also reported this from a “high-placed source” within the BBC.
The BBC also came under criticism for having recorded and broadcast interviews with other leaders before all had been confirmed.
Corbyn’s appearance on Andrew Neil’s show became the subject of damaging headlines after he refused, four times, to apologise anew to the Jewish community for the hurt suffered as a result of anti-Semitism in his party.
He reiterated his opposition to all forms of hatred and said he was “looking forward to having a discussion” with Rabbi Mirvi, the Jewish leader who has warned of a “poison” within the Labour party.
However, the lack of a new apology then received heavy coverage, overshadowing Labour’s revelations of the extent of discussion between the government and the USA regarding the NHS in a post-Brexit trade deal.