POLITICS
06/11/2019 11:28 GMT | Updated 06/11/2019 12:11 GMT

Kay Burley 'Empty Chairs' James Cleverly For Failing To Turn Up For Sky News Interview

The Conservative said he was doing another interview and "cannot be in two studios at the same time".

Kay Burley has ‘empty-chaired’ Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly after he apparently failed to turn up for an interview on Wednesday morning. 

It comes as the snap general election gets into full swing with Boris Johnson set to launch the Tory campaign later today. 

Appearing on screen next to an empty chair, Burley said: “I’ve got an empty chair here. It was supposed by filled by the chairman of the Conservative Party.

“Where is he? He’s probably 15 feet away from where I’m standing just at the moment.” 

Cleverly told Burley during an ad break that he wasn’t due to appear on the show “although they have said he would talk to us,” she said. 

But Burley wasn’t going to let a lack of interviewee stop her bringing up the issues that have left the Conservatives in hot water in the past few days. 

PA Wire/PA Images
Tory Party chairman James Cleverly

“I wanted to ask him about things like this,” she said, holding up The Telegraph’s front page, in which Boris Johnson compared Corbyn’s treatment of the wealthy with “a vindictiveness not seen since Stalin persecuted the kulaks”. 

And the other things she wanted to ask Cleverly about? 

  • Jacob Rees-Mogg’s comments suggesting Grenfell Tower victims lacked “common sense” 
  • Calls for Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns to quit over the behaviour of his former aide
  • A row over whether the transition period will be extended if there’s no Brexit deal by the middle of 2020
  • An argument over attempts to get officials to cost Labour policies 
  • The failure of the government to publish a report into alleged Russian interference 
  • Whether he thought the Conservatives were having a good day 

“I also wanted to ask him about his suggestion, or certainly his boss’ suggestion, that Jeremy Corbyn was demonising billionaires and whether or not it was a good idea to defend billionaires at the very start of the campaign,” she added. That’s some list. 

Clearly, Burley is not going to pull *any* punches during this general election campaign. 

“I know that Number 10 Downing Street watch our show,” she continued. “I know that the spin doctors at Number 10 Downing Street assured me via text that when politicians were doing the rounds in the morning, they would be doing this programme. 

“And yet we have an empty chair.” 

But despite Cleverly’s thorough telling-off from Burley on-air, the Conservative candidate for Braintree has insisted that he was doing a radio interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer at the same time.

“I’m good at multi-tasking but cannot be in two studios at the same time,” he added.