BBC tell Tories: Andrew Marr won't interview PM until he agrees to Andrew Neil grilling

Posted On: 
29th November 2019

The BBC has told the Conservatives that Boris Johnson will not appear on one of their flagship political programmes until he agrees to be quizzed by Andrew Neil.

Boris Johnson has come under pressure to announce a date for the Andrew Neil interview
PA Images

Tory bosses had offered up the Prime Minister for an interview on this Sunday's edition of the Andrew Marr Show.

It came amid claims that Mr Johnson is dodging a half-hour grilling by Mr Neil, widely seen as the BBC's top political interrogator.

However, a BBC source confirmed that the PM will not be appearing on Marr before facing Mr Neil.

Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon have already been grilled by the veteran broadcaster, with Jo Swinson and Nigel Farage set to appear next week.

Speaking on LBC Radio on Friday, the Prime Minister again refused to confirm if he would agree to the interview but said that discussions were ongoing.

John McDonnell: BBC has been ‘played’ by Boris Johnson over Andrew Neil row

Boris Johnson refuses to say whether he will take part in Andrew Neil grilling

Boris Johnson 'running scared' of Andrew Neil grilling, claims Labour chair Ian Lavery

Quizzed on whether he would face Mr Neil, Mr Johnson said: “I’m much happier frankly to talk about my policies, what we’re doing for the people of this country rather than endless debates about media and process.”


Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has accused the Prime Minister of "running scared" and called on the BBC to get tough.

He said: “The reason he is doing it is because he thinks like, you know, his Bullingdon Club friends, that they’re above the rest of us.”

Speaking to the BBC on Friday morning, he continued: “[They think] that they don’t need to be held to account, they don’t need to be treated like the rest of us.”

“He knows that Andrew Neil will take him apart. He’s running scared.”

Mr McDonnell also said Mr Johnson was “playing” the BBC, and suggested he was attempting to delay the interview until after the deadline for postal vote returns.

The Prime Minister has also faced scrutiny for declining to appear on Thursday night’s climate change debate on Channel 4.

Mr Johnson and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage were represented by a globe-shaped ice sculpture during the one-hour debate after they both failed to attend.

The debate was attended by Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, Lib Dem's Jo Swinson, the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon, the Green Party's Sîan Berry and Plaid Cymru's Adam Price.