James Cleverly hits back at Kay Burley's 'empty chair' interview

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

James Cleverly has hit back at Sky News presenter Kay Burley, who claimed he had refused to be interviewed and proceeded to ask her questions to an empty chair.

Ms Burley said she was "cross" with the Conservative Party chairman for not appearing on her show, before asking an empty seat questions she had intended for him live on air.

"There's an empty chair here. It was supposed to be filled by the chairman of the Conservative Party. Where is he? He's probably 15ft away from where I'm standing," she said.

"I wanted to ask him about things like this, the front page of the Telegraph, the tragedy of the modern Labour Party and the boss comparing Jeremy Corbyn to Stalin persecuting the kulaks."

But the Conservative Party chairman was preparing to speak to talkRADIO's Julia Hartley-Brewer, an interview commencing at 8.45am, and said he had never agreed to appear on Ms Burley's show.

"We hadn't booked in to go on her show, and I was sitting in a studio preparing to talk to you, as I'm now doing, and she said 'I want you to come on my show now'," he explained.

"I like to think I'm a pretty decent multi-tasker, but I cannot physically be in two places at the same time."

Concluding the interview, Julia said: "We're very glad to have you as you were booked at this time to talk to us."

Following the talkRADIO interview, Mr Cleverly reiterated on Twitter that he had never been booked to appear on Sky News.

"This is the radio interview I was booked in to do, and was doing, when Sky News cut to an empty chair," he wrote.

Discussing the segment on Twitter, Labour election candidate Wes Streeting wrote: "Don't mess with Kay Burley."

Another social media user joked: "Brutal. No ‘safe seats’ with Kay Burley."

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