Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

Chicken Boris Johnson still won’t commit to grilling from BBC’s Andrew Neil

Boris Johnson still won't commit to sitting down for a grilling from the BBC's political rottweiler Andrew Neil.

Every party leader has agreed to take part in Mr Neil's series of interviews.

But the Tory leader's team still haven't agreed to be interviewed by the veteran broadcaster before next Thursday's election.

And asked by the Mirror if he was too "frit" for the interview, Mr Johnson said: "I'm very happy to do interviews with all manner of people, but nothing but the highest privilege in this campaign so far is being able to answer your question.

"I think I've submitted so far…I'm the first Prime Minister to have done two – or about to do two one on one leadership debates, several hours of phone ins, endless press conferences, and interviews with all sorts of interviews with BBC people called Andrew."

Mr Johnson sat down with the BBC's Andrew Marr on Sunday morning.

But the programme was a different format and has a different audience to Andrew Neil's prime time standalone interviews.

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Mr Johnson went on to dodge the question entirely, palming it off on a senior aide.

"I will continue to submit to the interrogation of the media," he said.

"And if you want to have any further information on that I direct you to Dr Lee Cain, who will advise you."

Mr Johnson was also cornered by a worker concerned about house building in flood-prone areas.

The worker told him: "A few months ago I did actually send you an email – you're in trouble now."

She went on to ask about housing in Matlock, where she lives – where there are plans to build 400 homes on a floodplain.

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The PM was embarrassed on his visit to Matlock after the flooding when he was filmed in a flooded branch of Specsavers apparently baffled by a mop.

He replied: "Obviously I've got a huge amount of sympathy for people in Matlock and elsewhere in Derbyshire, Yorkshire, people who have suffered during the floods and it's incredibly distressing when that happens.

"We've got to stop building on flood plains. We've got to stop building on areas which are vulnerable to flooding, that's why this Government is putting another £4 billion into flood defences, and we will also be making sure that we invest in brownfield sites that will enable us to build the housing that our people need."

He added: "The other thing we've got to do, we've got to put in long-term flood defences, but we've also got to be planting millions and millions more trees.

"It sounds crazy but it's true, you need to plant 30 million more trees on higher ground to deal with the water that is building up."

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