Stanley Johnson: 'Sad' that PM's absence clouded climate debate

Friday, November 29, 2019

Stanley Johnson said it was "sad" that the Prime Minister's absence from a televised debate on climate change had been discussed more than the issue itself.

Boris Johnson did not attend Channel 4's Emergency On Planet Earth debate last night, and was instead replaced with a melting ice sculpture of the earth at the podium.

The Conservatives sent former Environment Secretary Michael Gove to take part - accompanied by his own film crew - but he was turned away as he was not the party leader.

"The whole thing seems to have been taken over by the question of whether or not they should have had Boris Johnson," Mr Johnson told talkRADIO's Julia Hartley-Brewer.

"For me it's slightly sad.

"Any objective assessment of what’s going on must put this issue [climate change] right at the top of all our concerns."

An ice sculpture of the earth replaced Boris Johnson at the podium

The Conservative Party have since complained to broadcast watchdog Ofcom over Channel 4 representing their party with an ice sculpture.

They argued placing the melting earth on the Prime Minister's podium was a "provocative partisan stunt".

Nigel Farage from the Brexit Party was also represented by an ice sculpture of the earth bearing his party's logo after he failed to attend.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru's leader Adam Price and Green co-leader Sian Berry all took part in the debate.

Mr Johnson said he was impressed by the "rather sweet" Jeremy Corbyn's contribution.

"My heart doesn't always warm to Jeremy Corbyn, but it was rather sweet when he started talking about hedgehogs and sparrows, and cuckoos," he added.

"He's not totally cuckoo because he was making a good point about cuckoos."

Read more

Michael Gove turned away from leaders’ climate change debate

Feature: I went to jail for Extinction Rebellion and I would do it again

talkRADIO: Your election station - listen live