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VIDEO: Tory James Cleverly ’empty-chaired’ by Kay Burley on Sky News

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  • Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly failed to turn up for a television interview to defend the party’s calamitous start to its general election campaign.
  • Sky News anchor Kay Burley “empty-chaired” Cleverly and said he was refusing to give an interview despite standing “fifteen feet” away in the studio.
  • She said she wanted to ask him about a number of damaging setbacks which have afflicted the party’s election campaign.
  • These include a Cabinet minister’s suggestion that more victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster might have survived if they had used ‘common sense,’ and a doctored video of Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer which misleadingly appeared to show him rendered speechless by a question on the party’s Brexit policy.
  • Cleverly had earlier refused to apologise for the doctored video of Starmer and told ITV it had been edited to ‘shorten’ the video.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

LONDON — The chairman of the Conservative Party, James Cleverly, has been “empty-chaired” on live television by Sky News anchor Kay Burley after refusing to appear for a scheduled interview.

Burley launched into a tirade against Cleverly and his party, saying that Downing Street had promised her multiple times that she would be speaking to a Conservative spokesperson but that he was now refusing to appear on her programme despite standing “15 feet away” in the studio.

“I’ve got an empty chair here,” she said.

“It was supposed to be 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.

“I’ve been in to see him during the break — he said he wasn’t due to come and talk to us today, although they had said that they would talk to us.”

Burley told viewers that she had wanted to ask Cleverly about a number of damaging setbacks which have already afflicted the Conservative party’s election campaign.

These include:

Watch: Conservative chairman James Cleverly refuse to appear on TV to defend campaign

 

Burley said she also wanted to ask him about a doctored video of Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer which appeared to show him rendered speechless by a question on the party’s Brexit policy, to which he gave a fluent answer.

Cleverly had already given several interviews to other broadcasters on Wednesday morning when he failed to appear on Sky News.

He refused to apologise for the doctored footage of Starmer and told ITV it had been edited to “shorten” the clip. In a separate interview with BBC’s Today programme, Cleverly claimed it was simply “a light-hearted satirical video, and obviously so.”

He acknowledged that Rees-Mogg’s Grenfell comments had “caused a huge amount of hurt and distress,” adding: “He has apologised unreservedly and I do think that is the right thing for him to do.”

Boris Johnson will attempt to get his party’s election campaign back on track on Wednesday after a very shaky start overshadowed the beginning of the election campaign.

In a rally in the West Midlands, he will ask voters to give him a mandate to deliver Brexit by January and say that only by “getting Brexit done” can he focus on other priorities, such as the NHS and crime.

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