ITV News has revealed that it offered the prime minister several times and dates for its ‘Tonight’ programme hosted by Julie Etchingham, but has now accepted it will not take place.
“Every other leader of Great Britain’s main political parties that has been approached has done an interview for Tonight,” a source said.
The failure to be interviewed comes after Ms Etchingham embarrassed Jeremy Corbyn over his claim to watch the Queen’s Christmas message – when he revealed he did not know what time of day it was shown.
Mr Johnson instead put himself on the This Morning sofa, for a soft interview which concluded with the hosts, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, posing for a smiling selfie with him.
“The ITV News team making the Boris Johnson Tonight film made the original bid for the prime minister when the election was called,” an ITV spokesperson said:
“They have contacted his press team on repeated occasions with times and dates offered to film an interview. Boris Johnson’s team have today confirmed he will not be taking part.
“The programme will instead feature a profile of the PM using fresh interviews with other contributors and archive footage.”
Mr Neil made clear he now accepted Mr Johnson would not agree to be interviewed by him, despite No 10 claiming negotiations were ongoing.
He said: “The moment the election was announced we began simultaneous talks with all the leaders.
“We proceeded on the basis they’d all do it. At no stage did anybody indicate they wouldn’t do it. All did do it. Bar one.”
The presenter, renowned as the BBC’s attack dog, also retweeted a posting which read: “Boris Johnson very pleased with himself after his “grilling” on ITV’s This Morning.
“He’ll also be a guest on Masterchef, the Apprentice, Naked Attraction, and be questioned by a parrot on BBC News. But will he be interviewed by Andrew Neil? Sorry, too busy.”
Ian Lavery, Labour’s party chairman, criticised the latest refusal, saying: “Boris Johnson thinks he’s born to rule and doesn’t have to face scrutiny.
“He’s running scared because every time he is confronted with the impact of nine years of austerity, the cost of living crisis and his plans to sell out our NHS, the more he is exposed.”
On the campaign trail in Derbyshire, Mr Johnson denied he as evading scrutiny, saying: “I’m the first prime minister to have done two, or about to do two, one-on-one leadership debates, several hours’ worth of phone-ins, endless press conferences and interviews with all sorts of BBC people called Andrew.
“And I will continue to submit to the interrogation of the media.”