Amber Rudd brands Boris Johnson's Today programme boycott 'a disgrace'

Amber Rudd has branded Boris Johnson’s decision to ban ministers from major media appearances “a disgrace”.

And the former Home Secretary warned Westminster had become a “wild west”, where politicians could say things that weren’t true without being held to account.

Ms Rudd made the comments at the launch of a report which found trust in British institutions is at its lowest level ever with only Russia faring worse.

The annual Edelman Trust monitor, the world’s biggest study of trust in the media, government, business and NGOs across 28 countries, raised big questions of the conduct of our politicians and leaders

The former Home Secretary warned politicians had “moved on” from policing each other whether they are telling the truth.

She said: “It really does feel like the wild west of politicians making it up as they go along. In the end if it becomes a case of ‘the end justifies the means’ – ie,  anything goes along as we’re winning, I think we’re in real trouble.”

Boris Johnson
Number 10 has refused to put any ministers up for interview on the Today programme since the election

And she strongly criticised the government for banning ministers from giving interviews to both ITV’s morning news programme Good Morning Britain and the BBC’s flagship news radio programme Today.

Number 10 has refused to put any ministers up for interview on the Today programme since the election.

And Mr Johnson was the only major party leader who failed to agree to be interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Neil during the election campaign.

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During the campaign, a Number 10 source branded the Today programme “irrelevant”, adding: “It is not a serious programme any more so we are not going to engage with it.”

Amber Rudd
Ms Rudd was speaking at the launch of a report on trust in British institutions.

But Ms Rudd said: “To understand what is going on in government, nothing beats the one-to-one interview.

“But our government are boycotting both GMB and the Today programme, and whispering darkly about the BBC. And this is, in my view, as one of my former colleagues said, a disgrace.

“Trust won’t be rebuilt with the public by the government avoiding scrutiny.”

But both Ms Rudd and BBC Director General Tony Hall, appearing at the same event, said they believed the boycott would be shortlived.

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Ms Rudd said: “I think there’s a bit of kickback against some of the interviewers…to show who’s in control – with an 80-seat majority the government is very much in control.

“I don’t think it will stand, and it can’t stand if the government acknowledges the problems we’ve been talking about today, and needed to get its message out.”

Lord Hall added: ”I’ve seen the end result of a number of election campaigns. People are always fractious and tired at the end of election campaigns.

“And I don’t think the boycott will last either, because I think there are important citizens that you need to reach. “


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