Analysis: Boris Johnson's Good Morning Britain Gamble Spectacularly Backfires

The prime minister had hoped his long-awaited appearance on the ITV breakfast show would give the Tories a local election campaign boost.
Susanna Reid grills the PM
Susanna Reid grills the PM

It was five years since Boris Johnson last subjected himself to a live interview on Good Morning Britain.

After this morning’s roasting at the hands of Susanna Reid, it’s likely to be even longer before he agrees to do so again.

The PM’s infamous run-in with a fridge before the 2019 election was the last time GMB came close to interrogating him live on air.

There’s a fair chance he was left looking for somewhere equally dark and cold in which to recover from this 25-minute grilling.

Reid wasted no time in putting Johnson on the back foot by asking him: “Are you honest, prime minister?”

After eventually insisting that he was, the prime minister attempted to turn the discussion to the government’s record. But Reid was having none of it, pointing out Johnson’s reputation for having a loose relationship with the truth.

It was already clear that if Number 10 thought this would be a soft soap interview giving the PM some free air time in the run-up to Thursday’s local elections, they were sadly mistaken.

The worst moment for Johnson - and there were a few to choose from - came when Reid told him about 77-year-old GMB viewer Elsie, who rides the bus all day because she can’t afford to heat her home.

Inexplicably, the prime minister attempted to make a virtue of her predicament by insisting - wrongly, as it turns out - that she could only do this because he had introduced the freedom pass for pensioners when he was mayor of London.

“Marvellous, so Elsie should be grateful to you for her bus pass,” Reid asked.

A more empathetic politician would not have immediately sought to take credit for the fact that a pensioner is resorting to aimlessly travelling round London all day because it’s preferable to being in her unheated home.

As he attempted to bluster his way through the rest of his answer, Reid said: “Prime minister, you can’t say anything to help Elsie, can you?”

The worry for the Conservative Party is that, with voters set to go to the polls in two days’ time, the rest of the country has reached the same conclusion.


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