As Johnson chickens out of Channel 4 debate, his party’s reputation melts into the sewer

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Channel 4 News has just hosted a leaders’ debate on the climate crisis. Considering this is one of the most crucial issues facing the electorate, and indeed the world, it’s a vital debate. But not only did Boris Johnson refuse to attend; his reputation (and that of his party) also melted even further into the sewer.

“The climate election”

While many issues are important to voters, this general election has been dubbed by some as “the climate election”. Jeremy Corbyn called it the “greatest issue facing our planet”:

Tonight we debate the greatest issue facing our planet.#ClimateDebate

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 28, 2019

But Johnson and the Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage refused to appear on the hour-long Emergency On Planet Earth debate on Channel 4 News. Meanwhile, Corbyn, Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, and Green co-leader Sian Berry agreed to take part.

Channel 4, however, came up with the perfect way to highlight the significance of Johnson and Farage’s absence. It put two ice sculptures in their place:

A complete lack of leadership shown by Boris Johnson on the biggest challenge facing our planet today.

But what else would you expect from someone bankrolled by the big polluters?

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 28, 2019

But if Johnson’s absence wasn’t bad enough, his party also took utterly desperate measures to try and cover for him.


Shortly before broadcast, Channel 4 News editor Ben de Pear shared Johnson’s “last ditch attempt”:

In a last ditch attempt ⁦@BorisJohnson⁩ has sent his two wing men best friend ⁦@michaelgove⁩ and dad Stanley Johnson to argue their way into a programme intended only for leaders. they were lovely and charming but neither are the leader #climatedebate

— Ben de Pear (@bendepear) November 28, 2019

He also explained that the other party leaders refused to appear with Johnson’s stunt double sidekick Michael Gove:

Just to be clear I went and asked all the party leaders if they would appear woth @michaelgove and they all politely declined so he left. This was always a leaders bldebate and only a leaders debate – and @BorisJohnson the invitation still stands

— Ben de Pear (@bendepear) November 28, 2019

Johnson’s dad, who had been invited by Channel 4, seemingly offered to stand in for his son.

Labour’s Clive Lewis was one of many who applauded Channel 4‘s integrity:

Michael Gove throwing his weight around demanding @Channel4News allow him to replace Boris Johnson in the #ClimateDebate. Been told a big, phat, no. I believe he has now flounced off from the Green Room. High drama here and the debate hasn’t even started!!

— Clive Lewis (@labourlewis) November 28, 2019

Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley, meanwhile, called Johnson “a disgrace” for chickening out:

Missing the climate debate isn’t just a clear show contempt for the next generation, it’s a clear sign that Boris Johnson is unfit for office. This is the greatest crisis we face. Chickening out of these debates is a disgrace. #ClimateDebate

— Jonathan Bartley (@jon_bartley) November 28, 2019

Melting further into the sewer

Gove, however, hadn’t quite finished. Because he still tried to twist the whole fiasco into another cheap shot at Corbyn:

Boris Johnson chickened out of the #climatedebate, he’s chickening out of the Andrew Neil interview (with the BBC’s help), and Michael Gove has the audacity to tweet this.

Their shamelessness is actually quite impressive.

— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) November 28, 2019

De Pear was quick to take down other moaning Tories too:

Then stop behaving like @realDonaldTrump with the press and media. Put your leader @BorisJohnson alongside the other leaders and stop playing games. Don’t refuse & then threaten our license it’s a slippery slope. All the parties complain about us but they’re here #ClimateDebate

— Ben de Pear (@bendepear) November 28, 2019

Tory HQ, meanwhile, apparently went into meltdown over the Channel 4 ice sculptures:

The Conservative Party has complained to Ofcom’s election committee after an ice sculpture was used in place of Boris Johnson during a Channel 4 debate

— PA Media (@PA) November 28, 2019

Whose side are you on: the fracking lobbyists’ or the climate scientists’?

Johnson is a sickening disgrace. He’s running scared from crucial issues, and any televised debates show him up for what he truly is. And let’s not forget that a fracking lobbyist wrote the Tory manifesto:

Our climate policy was written by climate scientists.
The Tories’ manifesto was written by a fracking lobbyist. It’s no wonder Boris Johnson didn’t show up to the #ClimateDebate.

— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) November 28, 2019

We have to hope that the electorate is eyes wide open now and that the Tories pay the price for this on 12 December.

Featured image via screengrab

By Fréa Lockley

This content was originally published here.

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