Channel 4 have replaced Boris Johnson with a melting ice sculpture of a globe containing a Tory party logo after he failed to attend the debate.
The broadcaster had considered replacing both Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson with life like sculptures in a drastic move to highlight their absence from the show.
Channel 4 invited all the main political party leaders to take part in the programme, which focuses on the issue of climate change.
The Conservatives indicated that the PM will not participate due to the involvement of Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP, who is due to take part.
The party said Johnson will not take part in any debates with Sturgeon during the general election campaign, on the grounds that she is not standing to be an MP.
The Tories are believed to have put forward Michael Gove, the minister for the Cabinet Office, as a potential replacement for Johnson.
But that offer was rejected by the broadcaster. Both Gove and Stanley Johnson – the prime minister’s dad – were present in the green room during the debate.Before the show a Channel 4 News spokeswoman did not deny that the sculpture plan was under consideration.
The spokeswoman said: “The clock is ticking. The ice caps are melting. Our invitation to the prime minister remains open until 7pm tonight.”
As the programme opened the invitation remained open to Johnson as well as to Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party leader.
The lack of appearance from Johnson sparked Twitter users to promote #BorisTheCoward, which went on to trend early on Thursday morning.