Boris Johnson may be empty-chaired at his own constituency hustings
PUBLISHED: 14:07 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 23:02 22 November 2019
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Organisers of an election hustings in Boris Johnson's Uxbridge constituency may 'empty-chair' the prime minister if he does not confirm he will show up.
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"We have not heard from Mr Johnson, his team or anyone from the Conservative Party," said Rich Blake-Lobb, pastor at the church where the event is being held.
The traditional event at Yiewsley Baptist Church, planned for December 6, invited candidates from the five parties that polled the highest in the last election.
The church website states: "As has been our custom for the past few years we invite all candidates to attend and all candidates present will be given the opportunity to give a two-minute speech to introduce themselves."
The church is reviewing the date in order not to clash with the BBC's debate timing. The church has now confirmed that it will go ahead "most likely a day earlier".
The church's website also states that the Liberal Democrat and UKIP candidates have also not yet confirmed. Only Labour's Ali Milani and the Green Party's Mark Kier were listed as attending.
Johnson saw his majority halve in Uxbridge to 5,034 in the 2017 election, the smallest of any prime minister since 1924.
Both during his campaign for leadership of the Tory party and during this election he has been criticised for allowing few opportunities for public scrutiny.
Channel Four has cancelled its televised election debate after the prime minister refused to take part, while Huffington Post has pointed out that he has taken a total of six press conference questions throughout the entire campaign so far.
Yiewsley Baptist Church confirmed that their standard practice for no-show candidates is either to empty-chair them or invite another party's candidate.
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"Local gossip has it that Mr Johnson still isn't entirely sure where Uxbridge is, placing it somewhere between Balliol and Kings," wrote the Times diary.
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