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November 22, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:38am

Channel 4 cancels leaders’ debate over Boris Johnson no-show

By Freddy Mayhew

Channel 4 has cancelled a televised leaders’ debate planned for this Sunday after Boris Johnson refused to take part.

It’s not the first time Johnson has snubbed the broadcaster.

He was represented by an empty podium during its Conservative Party leadership debate in June (pictured) and refused an interview with Channel 4 News at the Tory conference in October.

This week he also banned the Daily Mirror from his campaign battle bus.

Channel 4 Dispatches commissioning editor Louisa Compton tweeted: “Gutted we’ve had to cancel a planned Leaders debate on Channel 4 for this Sunday.

“Jeremy Corbyn  had agreed to take part but, after many weeks of intense discussion, we were unable to secure agreement from Boris Johnson’s team.”

Krishnan Guru-Murthy would have hosted the debate. He tweeted: “After weeks of negotiations Boris Johnson’s team didn’t want him to go head to head with Jeremy Corbyn on Channel 4.”

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Press Gazette has contacted the Conservative Party for comment.

Channel 4 News, which is part of ITN, has now organised a debate on climate change, the first in the UK to focus on the issue, for a date yet to be announced.

It has said the Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP, and Green Party leaders had agreed to take part, but it is still awaiting confirmation from Johnson and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

Channel 4 News said: “We urge the Prime Minister and Nigel Farage to show their commitment to this major issue and take part.

“We do not intend to accept anyone other than party leaders to debate and examine the climate crisis and the related issues of the environment and biodiversity.”

Emergency on Planet Earth: The Debate will air at 7pm, replacing the daily news bulletin.

Separately, Channel 4 News will host a live debate with representatives from all seven major political parties that will take questions from an audience of undecided voters on everything except Brexit on 8 December.

This debate will be hosted by Cathy Newman.

The BBC is hosting a special edition of Question Time tonight at 7pm on BBC One in which the Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and SNP leaders will face a grilling from members of the audience.

Picture: Channel 4 News

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