Kay Burley empty chairs James Cleverly as he fails to turn up for interview

Kay Burley and her empty chair on her breakfast television show. Photograph: Sky News.

Kay Burley and her empty chair on her breakfast television show. Photograph: Sky News. - Credit: Archant

Kay Burley empty-chaired the Conservative Party chairman after he failed to appear on her programme to answer questions about the election.

The Sky News breakfast presenter was "fuming" because James Cleverly had appeared on the morning programmes of all of the other major broadcasters, and she had expected to hear from the Tory chairman on her programme too.

In a three minute rant, Burley said: "It was supposed to be filled by the chairman of the Conservative Party.

"Where is he? He's probably 15 feet from where I am standing at the moment.

"I've been in to see him during the break, he said he wasn't due to come and talk to us today, although they had said they would talk to us."

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Burley went on to list the things she wanted to ask him about, as she pointed to the empty chair again.

It included the comparison of Corbyn to Stalin on the front of the Telegraph, Jacob Rees-Mogg's Grenfell Tower comments, the calls for the Welsh secretary to resign, the row over the Brexit transition period, the row over Treasury figures, and his party's failure over the report into Russian interference.

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"I also wanted to ask if he thought the Conservatives were having a good day, and I also wanted to ask him about his suggestion - certainly his bosses suggestion - that Jeremy Corbyn was demonising billionaires and whether or not it was a good idea to defend billionaires at the start of the campaign."

She continued: "I know Number 10 Downing Street watch our show, I know the spin doctors at Downing Street have absolutely reassured me by text that when politicians were doing the rounds in the morning they would do this programme. And yet we have an empty chair.

"Where on earth is he? He is 15 feet away from me, James Cleverly, who is the chair of the Conservative Party.

"And he says he will not come on this programme to answer all of those allegations".

"I'm fuming, I'm sure if you are watching and you want answers to those questions you will be fizzing as well."

Burley encouraged Cleverly to appear on Sky News in the next show presented by Adam Boulton.

"Why's he doing other broadcasters and not us?" she continued to complain. "It's time for us to stand up for ourselves at Sky. We come down here, we are the only political news programme in the morning who go face-to-face with the politicians".

Cleverly insisted he had not been booked to appear on the programme - despite appearing on other shows including BBC Breakfast and Good Morning Britain.

He tweeted he was appearing on talkRADIO with Julia Hartley-Brewer instead.

"I'm good at multitasking but cannot be in two studios at the same time. I'm good at multitasking but cannot be in two studios at the same time."

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