Analysis: Liz Truss's Claim She's Too Busy To Be Interviewed By Nick Robinson Doesn't Stack Up

·3-min read
Nick Robinson said he was 'disappointed and frustrated' that Truss had pulled out (Photo: PA Images)
Nick Robinson said he was 'disappointed and frustrated' that Truss had pulled out (Photo: PA Images)

Nick Robinson said he was 'disappointed and frustrated' that Truss had pulled out (Photo: PA Images)

The BBC statement was terse and to the point.

It read: “Liz Truss has cancelled her BBC One interview with Nick Robinson which was due to air this Tuesday evening (30th August) at 7 pm.

“Ms Truss’ team say she can no longer spare the time to appear on “Our Next Prime Minister”.

“The other candidate for the Conservative leadership, Rishi Sunak, was interviewed by Nick on 10th August.

“We regret that it has not been possible to do an in depth interview with both candidates despite having reached agreement to do so.”

Robinson tweeted that he was “disappointed and frustrated” that his head-to-head with the woman widely expected to by the next prime minister was no longer going ahead.

So what was the pressing engagement preventing Truss from keeping her date with the highly-respected broadcaster?

Her campaign team failed to shed any light on the mystery by failing to issue a statement of their own when the news broke.

At the weekly briefing for political journalists by the prime minister’s spokesperson, it was confirmed that Truss had no public engagements in her current role as foreign secretary that could have got in the way.

And when asked by HuffPost UK this morning, Team Truss confirmed she had no campaign visits in the diary for today either.

Rather than spend half an hour being put through her paces by the Today programme presenter, sources said, the would-be PM wanted to focus on her campaign and preparing for government.

But would that really have prevented her from sitting down with Robinson?

Her critics are, unsurprisingly, not convinced.

Tory MP Richard Holden, a supporter of Sunak, told Talk TV: “At this stage of the campaign you’ve got to be able to be open with the members, you’ve got to be able to be open with the public about your plans for government.

“I know from speaking to my members in North West Durham but also across the country that people are still undecided and I think this won’t help those people make that decision.”

Last night, a Sunak campaign source said: “It’s important that candidates face proper scrutiny so that members and the public know what they are offering.

“Avoiding that scrutiny suggests either Truss doesn’t have a plan at all or the plan she has falls far short of the challenges we face this winter.”

If the polls are correct and Truss really is cruising to victory, there is a clear logic in her not taking any chances, particularly given the rough ride Robinson gave Sunak a few weeks ago.

And there’s no doubt whatsoever that her decision to pull out of the interview will be quickly forgotten when she is declared the winner next Monday,

But she’ll quickly realise that it’s much more difficult to avoid public scrutiny when she’s handed the keys to Number 10.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

Related...