Kay Burley could face Ofcom probe after 'empty chairing' James Cleverly

PUBLISHED: 15:28 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:30 06 November 2019

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.

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The media watchdog Ofcom has received 23 complaints after a Sky News presenter 'empty chaired' a Tory politician who she says was expected on the show.

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Burley said the Conservative Party chairman missed a planned appearance on her breakfast show, although the Tory MP claimed that he was not in fact due to appear.

In the programme, Burley addressed a vacant seat and said she was "fuming" that Cleverly had not showed up, even though he had appeared on all the other major broadcasters' morning shows.

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

A spokesperson for Ofcom said: "We are assessing these against our broadcasting rules before deciding whether or not to investigate."

Sitting next to a vacant seat which she said was "supposed to be filled" by the politician, Burley said: "Where is he? He's probably 15ft away from where I'm standing just 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 that they would talk to us."

Burley then listed a number of topics she had hoped to discuss with Mr Cleverly, including Jacob Rees-Mogg's recent controversial comments about the Grenfell Tower tragedy and Prime Minister Boris Johnson's comparison of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to Joseph Stalin.

"I know that Number 10 Downing Street watch our show," Burley said.

"I know that the spin doctors at Number 10 Downing Street had absolutely reassured me via text that when politicians were doing the rounds in the morning, they would be doing this programme - and yet, we have an empty chair."

Cleverly responded to Burley's claims during a TalkRadio interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer.

"We hadn't booked in to go on her show, and I was sitting in this studio preparing to talk to you, as I'm now doing, and she said, 'I want you to come on my show now'," he said.

"I like to think I'm a pretty decent multitasker, but I cannot physically be in two places at the same time."

Cleverly's narrative has already been challenged by social media users such as actor and writer Alex Andreou, who pointed out that the MP's slot on TalkRadio was almost 20 minutes after the slot Burley says she had arranged.

Burley later tweeted: "He ducked us on the media round but then said yes to my team when we tracked him down."

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