Boris Johnson’s press secretary has turned breakfast television airwaves blue when he swore at a reporter live on television for trying to get an interview with the prime minister.
Good Morning Britain have been trying to get the prime minister to appear on their programme since the start of the election campaign but, much like with Andrew Neil’s interviews, the prime minister has avoided.
Boris Johnson was posing for cameras while on a milkround in Yorkshire when reporter Jonathan Swain spotted an opportunity to doorstep him live on television – much to the disapproval of his aides around him.
“Morning prime minister, will you come on Good Morning Britain prime minister? Will you deliver on your promise to speak to Piers and Susanna?” asked Swain.
“Oh for f*cks sake,” responds the minder live on television, reported to be the prime minister’s press secretary Robert Oxley.
“Oooh,” replied presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid back in the studio.
“The look on his face!” noted Reid.
As Swain tells his minder to “tone the language down” he tries to push past his minders to find Boris Johnson, who the presenters note is now hiding “in the fridge”.
“I’m actually being pushed and shoved at the moment as well by one of the minders,” Swain explains.
Morgan then issued a direct appeal to the PM, saying: “I’ve known you for 25 years. What’s the matter with you? You’re a good bloke normally, you have no problem with interviews, you bluster your way through them. Why would you rather look like a bottle job?”
Replying to Swain’s question on camera Johnson insisted he would appear on the programme, but with just 24 hours left of the campaign it’s unclear when he plans to do so.
Morgan continued: “I’d like to know what Mr Oxley, who’s the press secretary, what the hell he thinks he’s doing talking to you in that way and being that physically aggressive with you?”
“That’s not the behaviour we expect from a press secretary whose salary by the way will be paid ultimately by the taxpayer. It’s outrageous.”
“Cowardice is never a good look,” tweeted Morgan in response to viewer reaction.
Tory sources told the Mirror that they were not swearing at the reporter but expressing frustration at the situation. The source added they were planning to make an official complaint over the matter.
It follows an awkward exchange between Johnson and an ITV reporter, who challenged the prime minister to look at a photograph of a sick boy left to sleep on the floor of a hospital. Johnson initially refused to look – even snatching the phone away and putting it in his pocket.