Boris Johnson to face Andrew Marr – but not Andrew Neil

By By Catherine Wylie and George Ryan, PA Political Staff

Boris Johnson will be interviewed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, but has still not agreed to a grilling from the broadcaster’s veteran Andrew Neil.

The BBC’s decision to schedule the interview with Marr when the Prime Minister has still not committed to sitting down with Neil – who Jeremy Corbyn faced last week – was branded “wrong” and “shameful”.

It had been reported that the BBC had told Mr Johnson he would not be allowed to face Marr on Sunday unless he also agreed to be interviewed by Neil too.

But in a statement, the corporation said: “As the national public service broadcaster, the BBC’s first priority must be its audience.

“In the wake of a major terrorist incident, we believe it is now in the public interest that the Prime Minister should be interviewed on our flagship Sunday political programme.

“All parties’ election policy proposals must – and will – face detailed scrutiny from us and we continue to urge Boris Johnson to take part in the prime-time Andrew Neil interview as other leaders have done.”

Andrew Neil with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during a BBC interview (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

Labour candidates have accused the BBC of “abject surrender” in allowing the Prime Minister to be interviewed by Marr without agreeing to an interview with Neil.

Ben Bradshaw, a former Labour culture secretary and candidate in Exeter, tweeted: “This is a shameful & abject surrender by the BBC management, which will leave professional BBC journalists absolutely horrified and in despair with an organisation where morale is already at rock bottom.”

In a tweet, Ilford North candidate Wes Streeting said: “I love the BBC and hate the regular attacks on its impartiality and the professionalism of its journalists, particularly when it has some of the very best in the business. But this decision is wrong. The BBC have been played by the Tory Leader and shouldn’t dance to his tune.”

Mr Johnson has repeatedly refused to commit to an interview with Neil, despite other party leaders agreeing to be quizzed.

Mr Corbyn faced a brutal questioning from Neil on allegations of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, in which he refused four times to apologise to the Jewish community.

The Labour leader is scheduled to appear on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday.