Speaking on Tuesday morning, the prime minister and the BBC broadcaster repeatedly interrupted one another in a spiky exchange while in Manchester for the annual Conservative Party conference.
When the prime minister mentioned the government’s focus on British workers following Brexit, Robinson said: “Prime minister, you’ve made that point at length in a series of interviews up to this point.”
Johnson quickly replied: “Hang on, I haven’t had a chance this point on your show for two years – by your own account!”
Robinson said: “That was your choice not ours.”
The prime minister then maintained that the current shortages in supermarkets and at petrol pumps stemming back to a shortage of HGV drivers was just a sign of the UK readjusting to life outside of the EU.
Robinson tried to cut Johnson off, and said, “you have made that point very clearly”, only for the prime minister to continue talking.
The BBC host interjected: “Prime minister, you are going to pause – prime minister, stop talking.
“We are going to have questions and answers, not where you merely talk, if you wouldn’t mind.”
The conversation moved on corporation tax, only for Johnson to tell his interviewer that he was trying “to get back to the point I was trying to make before you told me to stop talking, an injunction you seemed to have revoked”.
The conversation then calmed down for a short time, and Robinson later said: “Of course we want to hear you talk, but we want to hear you talk on a range of subjects not just one.”
The interview came to an end when Robinson thanked Johnson for “talking to the Today programme”, and “allowing the occasional question as well”.
The prime minister replied: “It’s very kind of you to let me talk! Very kind, very kind.
“That’s the point of having me on your show. Anyway, lovely to see you.”
Downing Street refused to put any government ministers on the Today programme between the December 2019 general election until March 2020, when the Covid outbreak became a pressing concern.
A source close to the Conservatives claimed in late 2019: “The Today programme is irrelevant, it is not a serious programme any more so we are not going to engage with it – it is far better for us to put people up on BBC Breakfast and Five Live.”