Still wavering? “Boris Johnson pulls out of another BBC interview on day before election”

“Boris Johnson has ducked out of another high-profile interview as the general election vote looms, it has been claimed.

The prime minister’s team had told BBC Radio 2 he would “very likely” sit for an interview with Jeremy Vine, but on Wednesday backed away from the idea, the broadcaster said in a tweet.

Mr Vine tweeted: “Boris Johnson has refused to follow the other six leaders who have taken part in the leader interviews @BBCRadio2.

“His staff constantly told my producers – until this morning – that he was ‘very likely’ to come on. Today we were told he couldn’t, and no reason was given.”

The claim came less than a week after Mr Johnson was lambasted live on air by Andrew Neil, the BBC’s attack-dog interviewer who he had snubbed previously….”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-general-election-bbc-interview-jeremy-vine-andrew-neil-a9242256.html

“UK’s post-Brexit trade at risk as WTO’s top court shuts down” (thanks to Trump)

“The UK is at risk of being left at the mercy of the EU in its trading relationship in a year’s time after Donald Trump engineered the shutdown of the World Trade Organization’s top court.

The US president’s refusal to approve the appointment or reappointment of any judges on the appellate body has left it unable to function.

From midnight on Wednesday, the WTO court will no longer adjudicate on trade disputes, putting the world at risk of a free trade free-for-all in which the largest blocs have greater freedom to use their economic weight to do as they wish.

Countries or trade blocs who have not negotiated bilateral trade deals containing dispute resolution mechanisms will have no independent means for resolving their problems with each other.

If the UK leaves the EU on 31 January, Johnson has said he will not extend an 11-month transition period in which he wants to negotiate a comprehensive free trade deal with the bloc.

A failure to complete those complex talks by the end of that period would result in the UK trading with the EU entirely on WTO terms, including the imposition of tariffs and quotas, from 1 January 2021.

Under the terms of the transition period, the UK is to remain in the single market and EU customs union temporarily.

Should the UK, once outside of those structures, come to believe that the EU is imposing vexatious barriers to trade, there would be no recourse to legal redress for the British government.

The CBI has said the shutdown of the WTO court will leave global trade “like a football match without referee”. André Sapir, a senior fellow at the Brussels-based thinktank Bruegel, said the UK would be left in “legal limbo”. “It is in the UK’s interests for a solution to be found,” he said.

“Relying on WTO rules doesn’t look so great this morning,” one EU official said. “The WTO buccaneering Brexiteer alternative looks like hubris.”

A number of senior Conservatives, including the former cabinet minister John Redwood, have previously championed leaving the EU without a trade deal.

The EU is looking at building a shadow arbitration system as an interim solution but there is no agreement as yet within the bloc or internationally.

The WTO was established in 1995 to deal with trade disputes. The UK will become an independent member if it leaves the EU.

Phil Hogan, the European commissioner for trade, who will oversee the EU’s negotiations with the UK, said: “With the appellate body removed from the equation, we have lost an enforceable dispute settlement system that has been an independent guarantor – for large and small economies alike – that the WTO’s rules are applied impartially.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/11/uk-post-brexit-trade-at-risk-as-wto-top-court-shuts-down?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“Boris Johnson ‘hides in fridge’ to avoid Piers Morgan interview”

And now another example!

“Boris Johnson retreated into a fridge to avoid a TV interview, amid rattled nerves at CCHQ over a narrowing in the opinion polls.

The prime minister was ambushed by the Good Morning Britain producer, Jonathan Swain, during a pre-dawn visit to Modern Milkman, a business in the Tory-held constituency of Pudsey, in Yorkshire.

When Swain first approached Johnson, he asked: “Morning prime minister, would you come on Good Morning Britain, prime minister?” Johnson’s aide can be heard mouthing “oh for fuck’s sake” in response.

The show’s hosts, Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, appeared shocked by the aide’s reaction. Swain goes on to say: “I’ve just had a reaction from one of the minders. OK, no need to push, thank you very much,” with Reid exclaiming: “The look on his face, that minder.” The aide was then named on air as the PM’s press secretary, Rob Oxley.

When Swain presses the prime minister, stating he was live on the show, Johnson replied “I’ll be with you in a second” and walked off, before Piers exclaims “he’s gone into the fridge”. Johnson walks inside a fridge stacked with milk bottles with his aides. One person can be heard saying: “It’s a bunker.”

Conservative sources subsequently insisted that Johnson was “categorically not hiding” in the fridge, from which Johnson emerged carrying a crate of milk bottles – but instead his aides were taking a moment to prep the PM for a separate, pre-agreed interview.

During the exchange, Swain asked if Johnson would come on the programme and “deliver on your promise to talk to Piers and Susanna. We’re ready to go, we’re live on ITV right now. Prime minister, we have an earpiece in my pocket. You are more than welcome to come on.”

Swain told Morgan and Reid that he was being pushed and shoved by one of the minders. “It’s a very frosty reception we’ve had so far,” Swain said after Johnson disappeared, to which Morgan responds: “That was heroic work.”

Tory aides have closely controlled the PM’s appearances since a chaotic day on Monday. Johnson pocketed a journalist’s phone during a TV interview rather than look at a picture of four-year-old Jack Williment-Barr, asleep on the floor at a Leeds hospital.

Later that day, the Conservatives were accused of fabricating a story about an assault on an adviser to the health secretary, Matt Hancock, which they later conceded had not taken place.

After the visit to the dairy, Johnson delivered a crate of milk to a house in nearby Guiseley, where the homeowner, Mrs Monaghan, appeared delighted to see him. “It’s so nice to meet you prime minister: what are you doing up so early?” she asked.

Johnson will criss-cross the country throughout Wednesday on a series of final campaign stops, visiting Derbyshire, Wales and Essex.

Johnson has been heavily criticised for refusing to do interviews with broadcasters. Last week, Andrew Neil laid down the gauntlet to Johnson by challenging him to do the BBC interview he has so far refused to commit to, saying it was “a question of trust” for the prime minister.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/dec/11/boris-johnson-hides-in-fridge-to-avoid-piers-morgan-interview?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other