Andrew Neil reveals damning questions he would ask Boris Johnson in BBC interview

Andrew Neil challenges Boris Johnson. Photograph: BBC.

Andrew Neil challenges Boris Johnson. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

Andrew Neil has used one of his last opportunities to call for Boris Johnson to appear before him to prove that the nation can trust him.

At the end of his interview with Nigel Farage, Neil went on to look down the camera as he told viewers that it was the end of the scheduled interviews.

"There is of course still one to be done - Boris Johnson, the prime minister.

"We have been asking him for weeks now to give us a date, a time, a venue. As of now, none has been forthcoming.

"No broadcaster can compel a politician to be interviewed. But leaders' interviews have been a key part of the BBC's prime-time election coverage for decades.

You may also want to watch:

"We do them on your behalf to scrutinise and hold to account those who would govern us. That is democracy."

He went on to explain to viewers what they could have expected from such an interview with Johnson.

Most Read

He said: "The theme running through our questions is trust and why so many times in his career in politics and journalism, critics - and sometimes even those close to him - have deemed him to be untrustworthy.

"It is of course relevant to what he is promising us all now."

He continued to even give the politicians a hint of the type of questions he can expect.

He said: "It is not too late. We have an interview prepared. Oven-ready, as Mr Johnson likes to say.

"Can he be trusted to deliver 50,000 more nurses when almost 20,000 in his numbers are already working for the NHS?

"He promises 40 new hospitals. But only six are scheduled to be built by 2025.

"Can he be believed when he claims another 34 will be built in the five years after that?

"Can be trusted to fund the NHS properly? When he uses a cash figure of an extra £34bn. After inflation the additional money promised amounts to £20bn.

"He vows the NHS will not be on the table in any trade talks with America. But he vowed to the DUP, his Unionist allies in Northern Ireland, that there would never be a border down the Irish sea.

"That is as important to the DUP as the NHS is to the rest of us. It is a vow his Brexit deal would seem to break.

"Now he tells us he's always been an opponent of austerity. We would ask for evidence of that. And we would want to know why an opponent of austerity would bake so much of it into their future spending plans.

"We would ask why, as with the proposed increase in police numbers, so many of his promises only take us back to the future. Back to where we were before austerity began.

"Social care is an issue of growing concern. On the steps of Downing Street in July he said he'd prepared a plan for social care. We'd ask him why that plan is not in his manifesto."

The presenter went on to concede that he expected the interview would not happen.

He said: "Questions of trust. Questions we'd like to put to Mr Johnson so you can hear his replies. But we can't. Because he won't sit down with us.

"There is no law, there is no Supreme Court ruling that can force Mr Johnson to participate in a BBC leaders' interview. But the prime minister of our nation will have to stand up at times to President Trump, President Putin, President Xi of China.

"So it was surely not expecting too much that he spend half an hour standing up to me."

It came as Boris Johnson's team confirmed on Thursday that he would not be taking part in an interview with ITV newsreader Julie Etchingham despite all other leaders participating.

Labour accused the Conservative Party leader of "running scared" from two of the nation's biggest political interviewers.

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus