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Video: Sky’s Burley asks questions of empty chair as Tory Cleverly hides 15 feet away

Senior Tory had endured a number of tough interviews with other broadcasters over Rees-Mogg’s appalling Grenfell comments

In a remarkable video – on the day the Tories officially launch their general election campaign – Sky News presenter Kay Burley ‘interviewed’ an empty chair after James Cleverly chickened out moments before he was due to appear on her programme.

Cleverly had already faced some probing questions from other broadcasters about appalling comments by Jacob Rees-Mogg about the Grenfell Tower victims and the subsequent justification by colleague Andrew Bridgen, as even the BBC observed this morning:

And it seemed that Cleverly ‘bottled it’ when it came to facing a grilling by Burley. As the Sky presenter stated to viewers, Cleverly had not failed to make it to the studio. Instead, he was sitting about fifteen feet away, refusing to appear on camera – even though he had said he was willing.

And rather than cover for him, Burley simply ’empty-chaired’ the cowardly Tory and told her audience what she would have asked him:


The Tories’ campaign launch has already been a disaster and it’s not even lunchtime.

Still, at least the chair talked less rubbish than Cleverly and viewers escaped another dose of his droning defence of the indefensible.

And how ironic that the most abject failure of the day so far has been an attempt to defend Tory claims Rees-Mogg would have survived the Grenfell blaze because he’s cleverer – by the inaptly-named and cowardly Mr Cleverly.

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  1. The most important event today by far is the case of Chris Williamson being discussed by the NEC. It is imperative that if we want a Corbyn government, we have MPs of the calibre of Chris Williamson. Rather than listen to the JLM the voice of Israel and enemies of Jeremy Corbyn, the NEC should take note of the JVL who fully support Chris.

    This case is so important that if Chris is not reinstated it could lead to thousands of members losing their faith in Jeremy Corbyn who would have been seen not to have supported those who have supported him. To cave in to the Israeli Lobby and not reinstate Chris, would be an indication of who is actually controlling the Party and it would not be Jeremy Corbyn.

    1. You don’t overstate the case. It is a vital litmus test of the Party’s integrity.

      It would be unfair to Corbyn to blame him for any failure here – he’s in a ‘no win’ situation and has been assaulted with the political equivalent of baseball bats by the thugs of the Israel front organisations – the defenders of inhuman Palestinian persecution.

      But the outcome will speak volumes about the core management of the Party.

      1. RH Yes, Corbyn has been rounded on by the Israeli Lobby, including the Israeli government but surely it’s an article of faith of Socialists that when attacked by an enemy, we show solidarity for each other?

        There is absolutely no question that Corbyn could have let it be known to the NEC that he backs CW 100%. If we back down now what will it be like in government when the pressures are even greater?

        The top and bottom of it is we have no sensible and worked out strategy for dealing with the ‘lobby’ other than appeasement, which has entailed throwing under the bus, those who could have helped us most. It can’t go on, it has to stop somewhere.

        There are those who say we mustn’t talk about it, sweep it under the carpet. The difficulty with that is it is not a strategy because the lobby won’t stop talking about it and will keep attacking us no matter. Therefore the public will still be listening. We must also bare in mind, the lobby will have their own people pretending to support Corbyn, telling us the best way to do that is to keep quiet and don’t fight back!

    2. They are not ‘listening’ to the JLM Jack, and in its own right it has no influence on party matters whatsoever. It’s that elephant in the room which you keep omitting to mention – ie the corporate media and the BBC, which controls the narrative and gives a voice to the JLM and the CAA and LAA etc and disseminates their propaganda lies and falsehoods to tens of millions of people, and needless to say, DOESN’T give a voice to JVL.

      It’s the power of the fascist media that led to the belief that 34% of LP members have been reported for A/S. and THAT is totally and truely astounding, although one or two on here try to play it down. We all hope Chris will be reinstated of course and contests his seat in the GE, but IF that happens, the ‘moderates’ and the media are gonna REALLY be gunning for him AND condemning Jeremy at the same time for reinstating a ‘Jew baiter’ etc, etc, etc. But you know that of course.

      1. Allan, they are not just listening to the JLM, they are dancing to their tune, which in turn is being composed by the Israeli Embassy and the Israeli Government.

      2. Still leaving the power of the media out of the equation then, Jack? You know, the Establishment’s propaganda machine!

      3. Allan, it’s not my policy to wave a white flag to the media and abandon comrades or or nothing will change.

      4. So STILL not acknowledging the power of the media then Jack, and just repeating your infantile and pathetic ‘white flag’ platitude! But perhaps you could elaborate as to just what anyone could do to counter the lies and falsehoods and smears. when the whole of the MSM is complicit in the smear campaign, and has been from the outset AND, as you well know, anyone who says that the whole anti-semitism thing has been manufactured and orchestrated is condemned as a conspiracy theorist, and anyone defending the likes of Ken or Jackie or Chris is vilified as defending Jew-baiters or anti-semites, or of being in denial and, as such, being part of the problem.

        I mean to use your ‘white flag’ theme – which obviously you yourself are not waving – then what are YOU supposedly doing to counteract the smears? Cos if you’re doing NOTHING, then in your own terms you TOO are waving a white flag, or as good as.

        Anyway (for anyone that’s interested), I just came across the following article which details what Alan Duncan said that led to the Israeli lobby wanting to ‘take him down’, and he didn’t pull any punches!:

      5. Allen – The NEC has just refused to endorse Chris Williamson. Capitulation obviously isn’t a solution.

      6. Allan, you are obviously on some sort of media appeasement trip, in your case, the white flag is entirely appropriate. Using your approach we should not counteract any false allegations thrown at us in case we anger our accusers. Not good policy is it?

      7. And why do you think they came to THAT decision Steve. There is no capitulation, and YOU and Jack know it. Why do you keep pretending that you don’t know what would have happened if they’d reinstated him. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if someone passed on a message to the effect that ten, fifteen, twenty LP Lords* have said they will resign the Labour whip if Chris is reinstated, but whatever the case, the ‘moderates’ and the MSM would have gone into ultra overdrive condemnation of JC and the party had they done so. Or have you forgotten what happened the last time Chris was reinstated! Hopefully he will stand as an Independent and regain the seat.

        (*Obviously with a GE immanent, it wouldn’t have been MPs)

    3. I write this, incandescent with fury, having just learnt that the NEC has refused to reinstate Chris. Once again Corbyn kowtows to the Zionist lobby and once again he besmirches his reputation for integrity. I hope to God Chris stands as an independent and wins. How much longer can I stay in a party where the leader is pushed from pillar to post by the likes of McDonnell, Lansman, and Thornberry? What is the point of working my guts out canvassing when I know that these people will sell out every principle and break every promise in pursuit of their own personal power?

      1. He didn’t kowtow to anyone Ceredig, and if you continue to spread and disseminate the Big Lie, which of course HAS to conseal the fact that the Establishment’s propaganda machine has total control of the narrative AND plenty of Blairites willing to do whatever’s necessary to get shod of Jeremy, then you and the likes of JackT and SteveH are in effect working on the side of the wreckers and saboteurs. Did it not occur to you that it’s quite possibly the case that the saboteurs working within the party machine deliberately did this NOW so as to create antagonism towards Jeremy amongst party members at this crucial time. But, pray, do tell me, what do you think would have happened – ie what do you think would have been the reaction of the ‘moderates’ and the corporate media, and no doubt the Tory leadership and the LibDem leadership would have chimed in with their tuppence worth of condemnation and faux outrage – if Chris had been reinstated?

        Jeremy has got more integrity in his little toe than you and Jack and Steve combined, precisely because you don’t have any. And I doubt you’re even IN the party, so you can hardly stay in it, but if you ARE, then I for one would suggest that you go forth and multiply!

      2. And what have McDonnell and Lansman and Thornberry got to do with Chris not being reinstated, or is THAT a separate issue which you thought you’d throw in just for good measure?

      3. Ceredig said:

        ‘How much longer can I stay in a party where the leader is pushed from pillar to post by the likes of McDonnell, Lansman, and Thornberry? What is the point of working my guts out canvassing when I know that these people will sell out every principle and break every promise in pursuit of their own personal power?’

        If you see it THAT way, then the Big Question IS: Why are YOU still “working your guts out”, as you claim. Doesn’t make sense to me. Funny how there’s all these posters coming out with so much negative stuff at the beginning of a general election campaign…… just the sort of thing Tory shills would do.

        And just for the record, the NEC meeting DIDN’T meet to consider whether Chris Williams should be reinstated, and Jack T and Co were scamming and deceiving everyone, and for the obvious reason. Chris is suspended, and as long as he is he can’t stand as a LP candidate, and all the NEC meeting did was confirm that THAT is the case.

      4. And needless to say, neither Ceredig, or anyone else for that matter, as in Jack T and RH and Steve H, answered my question, because to do so would be to concede that they are dissembling a falsehood, and THAT’s why not one of them has ever responded to the question on the numerous occasions I’ve put it to them, and the question (as I phrase it in my post above )is:

        what do you think would have been the reaction of the ‘moderates’ and the corporate media, and no doubt the Tory leadership and the LibDem leadership would have chimed in with their tuppence worth of condemnation and faux outrage – if Chris had been reinstated?

        There would of course have been a tsunami wave of condemnation and faux outrage, which the saboteurs would have kept going for weeks, no doubt along the lines of how Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party harbours and protects anti-semites etc, and more-than-likely another round of resignations, albeit by LP Lords, what with a general election just five weeks away.

        But that was before I discovered that the NEC meeting was never about whether Chris should be reinstated or not!

        We all got taken for a ride, and the im-posters on here made a meal of it!!

      5. Allan Howard 08/11/2019 at 12:00 am

        Allan – For your own good please climb down from your high horse, you’ll get a nose bleed.

        From my perspective I accept that it was probably inevitable that Chris wouldn’t be able to stand and given where we are with this nonsense it was probably the right decision.

        Unfortunately what you seem to be either incapable or unwilling to accept is that we are where we are because of the longstanding policy of capitulation. If we had rejected and fought back against the accusations of anti-Semitism right from the start these nonsense attacks on Corbyn would have gone the same way as the silly Czech Spy accusations and we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in now. If Labour had handled this better from the start none of what we are discussing with to Chris would have happened.

        With regards to your 11:40 comment I was with you until the final paragraph when for some reason best known to yourself you decided to dance around on the head of a pin. Everyone who was interested knew that Chris’s fate would be decided at the NEC meeting on Wednesday. Most of us were also realistic enough to accept that it was unlikely the NEC would lift his suspension and allow him to stand as our candidate. To argue that it wasn’t on the NEC’s agenda to decide the fate of Williamson and others is palpable nonsense and to play around with semantics to argue otherwise serves no discernible purpose is just silly.

        ps: I do wish you’d desist from assuming that you know what other people’s intentions are in order to justify your own narrative.

      6. And PLEASE bear in mind that – just like the Daily Mail does (only in the Daily Mail’s case they have up votes AND down votes) – the im-posters on here manipulate the ‘likes’ on a regular basis. And they are undoubtedly professionals, although it’s quite possible that there’s just ONE shill using a number of different user-names/personas.

      7. Allan Howard 08/11/2019 at 12:13 am

        FFS Allan – Surely this conspiracy nonsense is beneath you, don’t debase yourself.

  2. The contempt shown by Andrew Bridgen in his pathetic & inaccurate attempt to defend Rees Mogg & the assertion that clever people (aka Old Etonians) are born to lead is the insult that needs analysis & media coverage. Rees Mogg said he would have got out @ the earliest opportunity……how dare he say such a thing, but I don’t believe I would have stayed inside the fire trap no matter what assurances were offered by any so-called authority. He did not say the residents lacked common sense, he said it was common sense to get out asap.
    I despise everything he is & what he represents, but point the finger of blame more accurately & without the hysteria. Shine your ‘Liberal Badge’, but the plastic cladding is still on many ‘high rise’ flats & nothing has been done. Say prayers; send flowers & criticise Rees Mogg.

  3. Get CW back today, any criticism will be drowned out by Cheap and nasty Tory party Eton mess

  4. Roy hattersley once got replaced by a packet of lard…

    Health & Safety probly won’t allow a sack of shite…

  5. After investigation, the number of proved instances of Antisemitism by members of the Labour Party were some 600 cases.
    This represents c 0.1%.

    Very different than the 34% stated by media.

  6. ‘Cowering Cleverly?
    As Rees-Mugg couldn’t get much lower?
    Questions on Bridgend the Barbarian?
    And of course the Goebells of Gower?’

  7. CW not allowed to stand as MP – NEC decide.

    On balance provably the right decision. The furore caused if he was ‘ free ‘ would have created a prolonged condemnation by the MSM.
    Publicity Labour could well do without going into an election

  8. In a 110 page (pdf file) document by the so-called Campaign Against Antisemitism entitled ‘Antisemitism Barometer 2017’, it says the following:

    The failure of the authorities to act against antisemitic crime, and antisemitism in politics, have had a severe detrimental effect on British Jews’ sense of security, risking the progress made by British society. For the first time, more than half of British Jews believe that the CPS is doing too little to fight antisemitism, and almost half criticised the courts. 76% of British Jews felt that political events caused antisemitism to rise, and for two years, over 4 in 5 British Jews have suspected the Labour Party of harbouring antisemites.

    But THEN, amazingly, it goes on to say that:

    Supporters of left-wing political parties and ‘remainers’ are less likely to be antisemitic than those on the right or supporters of the ‘leave’ camp.

    Now if I remember correctly, about two-thirds of Labour voters voted to remain, and about 60% of Tory voters voted to leave (and just about ALL UKIP voters obviously voted to leave in the EU refendum). But anyway, putting aside the remain/leave factor, supporters of left-wing parties are less likely to be antisemitic they state, which of course begs the question as to how it is then that the CAA and Co are supposedly finding so many cases of (alleged) A/S on the left, and hardly ANY on the right. Very odd that!

    But then again, I think we all know the answer!!

    PS By the way David (McNiven), I just happened, by chance, to come across your post re CST stats re prosecutions for A/S earlier today, so my apologies for doubting you. The funny thing is that your post was addressed to ME! And interestingly enough, there just happens to be an interaction on the page between myself and Jack T, where I’m saying what I’ve been saying in recent months and Jack has responded with his ‘white flag’ platitude (as he does up near the top of THIS page), but back then he was thanking me for pointing out what I pointed out!

      1. And I should add that it contains several other skwawkbox articles (links to, that is), AND a letter to the Guardian signed by forty-two academics who, in effect, refute the claims of anti-semitism, so please read it AND share as widely as possible, and include it in any leaflet that you may be putting together on the subject:

  9. I just came across a ‘Special Alert’ email from Avaaz in my inbox. There isn’t an option to open it in my browser (if there was I would just post a link to it), so I’m copying it and pasting it:

    Dear friends across the UK,

    This election, everything we care about is on the line.

    Our NHS, real climate action, social care, schools, AND stopping Brexit.

    If Boris wins a landslide, it’s all in serious jeopardy.

    But there’s a sleeping army out there, 9 MILLION people who aren’t registered to vote.

    They’re students, renters, and ethnic minority voters — exactly the people Johnson wants to keep off the rolls, because most wouldn’t vote for him — and we can reach them right now!

    Almost a million of us are getting this email, if we all share with five young people, we could shake this election to the bones. Let’s do it:

    STEP 1. Recruit

    Think of 3 specific young people who may not be registered and would be happy to hear from you — and send them a personal message now. Perhaps they recently moved, left to study, or just turned 18. Contact them now

    STEP 2. Check yourself

    If you aren’t 100% sure you’re registered, the safest option is to just register again. It costs nothing and only takes 5 minutes

    3. Share with everyone

    Now let’s plaster this call across the internet

    This election isn’t about who walks into Downing Street. It’s about standing up against austerity, soaring homelessness, and a health service being brought to its knees. It’s about defending our climate and nature. And we can play a part in all of that, right now!

    These missing voters are largely young people, and if we want to beat Boris and the misery he’d unleash, they are key. And they’re just waiting to be found — more than 100,000 young people registered to vote on the first day of the election campaign alone. Now let’s send that number through the roof.

    If we all push three young people to register today, the impact would be massive — and it’s so easy!

    This is the election of a lifetime — and our movement thrives at times like these, when each individual action we take is replicated thousands and thousands of times, into something spectacular. Let’s do that again, joining together to protect our democracy, and the future of Britain!

    With hope and determination,

    Mike, Sarah, Bert, Alaphia, Spyro, Nick and the whole team at Avaaz

    PS. We have a brand new Avaaz UK Facebook page! Join us to stay up to date with national campaigns and take action on the local issues we all care about.

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