Boris Johnson’s attempts to evade reporters from Good Morning Britain (GMB) reached comedic heights this morning in the silliest way possible.
Broadcasting from the Conservative party conference in Manchester, GMB tried to interview the elusive prime minister who hasn’t appeared on the show in almost four years.
While speaking to policing minister Kit Malthouse, host Alastair Campbell asked if the prime minister is honest all of the time. Malthouse said yes, and Susanna Reid asked “are you having to say that because he’s sitting right next to you?”
Malthouse shook his head and turned around to gesture broadly toward the background, saying “I have no idea where he is.”
In a clip that wouldn’t look out of place in a sketch from The Thick of It, the camera swings around shakily to reveal a familiar-looking blonde mop of hair just a few metres from Malthouse.
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“There he is,” Campbell remarks.
“Oh, he is right there,” Malthouse can be heard saying.
The prime minister was speaking to Tom Newton Dunn, the chief political commentator of Times Radio.
“One of Rupert [Murdoch’s] people and he won’t talk to us,” Campbell said in reference to The Times and Times Radio being part of Rupert Murdoch’s stable of news brands.
Malthouse interjected in an annoyed tone: “Is there any chance we could talk about something of substance and importance to the British people today? I realise, Alastair, that you’re there to try and make some kind of political point and I’m not sure everyone would regard you as an impartial observer in these matters.”
The discussion quickly moved on to more serious matters, such as crime, policing, and the custodial sentences for rape in comparison to the sentences people can be given for defacing memorials.
Earlier in the morning journalist Ranvir Singh tried to engage the prime minister but he waved and continued walking.
“Black fridge,” Campbell quipped as Johnson was seen slipping under a black arch to go towards the reception area of the venue.
The fridge comment from Campbell was in reference to Johnson’s previous attempts to evade GMB on the eve of the 2019 general election.
While joining an early morning milk round before the election, Jonathan Swain tried to interview the camera shy politician. Johnson said “I’ll be with you in a second” before being whisked off into a fridge.
Campbell said it has been 1563 days since the prime minister appeared on the show.
“I mean, look, you’re not allowed to use the c-word on this programme,” Campbell said. “But the guy is a coward and he’s a charlatan.”
A member of the crew can be heard coughing as Susanna smoothly brings the conversation back to more family-friendly territory, saying: “It would be lovely to have him on the programme this morning.”
Despite Johnson’s promises to go on the show, he has yet to make an appearance.
Campbell is clearly eager to get a date in Johnson’s diary, but we have a feeling he would prefer to interview him on a Tuesday purely so he can hit Boris with a “see you next Tuesday” in the lead-up to the interview.
Given Johnson was told to “stop talking” during his first BBC Radio 4 interview in two years, we fear he might retain his media shyness.