Liz Truss pulls out of interview with BBC’s Nick Robinson

·3-min read
Liz Truss during a hustings event in Norwich North, Norfolk (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)
Liz Truss during a hustings event in Norwich North, Norfolk (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Wire)

Liz Truss has pulled out of an interview with veteran political journalist Nick Robinson which was due to air on Tuesday.

The Tory leadership frontrunner’s team said she could “no longer spare the time” to take part in the one-to-one interview, which was scheduled for 7pm on August 30 on BBC One, BBC News tweeted on Monday.

“We regret that it has not been possible to do an in depth interview with both candidates despite having reached agreement to do so,” the press team said in a second tweet.

I am disappointed & frustrated it’s been cancelled

Nick Robinson

Ms Truss’s rival in the race for No 10, Rishi Sunak, sat down with Robinson earlier this month.

Robinson tweeted: “Was pleased to secure an in-depth interview with @trussliz on BBC1. I am disappointed & frustrated it’s been cancelled.”

A source from Ms Truss’s campaign said she is not participating as she is focused on winning as many votes as possible and on preparations for government.

The Foreign Secretary faced accusations of dodging scrutiny from her rival’s camp and Labour.

A source from Mr Sunak’s team 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.”

People will rightly conclude that she doesn’t want to answer questions... because she simply hasn’t got any serious answers to the big challenges facing our country

Labour's Conor McGinn

Conor McGinn, Labour’s shadow minister without portfolio, said: “The British public don’t get a say in choosing the next Tory prime minister and now it seems Liz Truss wants to avoid any public scrutiny whatsoever.

“People will rightly conclude that she doesn’t want to answer questions about her plans for the country because she simply hasn’t got any serious answers to the big challenges facing our country. Only Labour can provide the fresh start the country needs.”

Ms Truss had already declined to be interviewed by veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil on Channel 4, while Mr Sunak has faced him and multiple other one-on-one broadcast interviews.

She did take questions from a GB News audience in Leigh, Greater Manchester, in an hour-long programme earlier in August, something Mr Sunak has avoided.

Boris Johnson was also accused of not submitting to scrutiny when he refused to commit to interviews with Neil and other broadcasters during the 2019 general election campaign.

The candidates to succeed Mr Johnson as Prime Minister will go head-to-head again in the final official hustings of the Tory leadership race on Wednesday.

The ballot of Conservative Party members closes on Friday, with the winner to be announced on September 5.