Right-wing attempt to escape humiliation gets Tory chair double dose
A right-wing attempt to get James Cleverly off the hook of his cowardly embarrassment on Wednesday morning’s media has backfired, heaping fresh humiliation on the Tory chair’s head.
Cleverly was ’empty-chaired’ by Sky News presenter Kay Burley when he refused to come on-screen for an interview in which he was meant to be trying to defend the appalling comments of Jacob Rees-Mogg about victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze.
Cleverly’s failures on earlier media programmes were presumably too much for him – but he was humiliated when Burley pointed out he was in the studio only fifteen feet away and asked her questions of the empty chair instead. Many wags said it was the most credible Tory interview in a long time.
Cleverly’s come-uppance quickly went viral – and Tory campaign chiefs were clearly desperate to rubbish Burley’s version of events, because reports began to circulate that Cleverly had only failed to appear because he was involved in a phone interview at the time with right-wing radio host Julia Hartley-Brewer.
But one sharp-eyed Twitter user very rapidly – and incontrovertibly – exposed the claims as absolute nonsense.
Alex Andreou pointed out that at the time Cleverly was supposed to be on Sky with Burley, Talk Radio was advertising that Cleverly was “coming up next” half an hour later:
Not only that, but the time-stamp on the catch-up version of the programme made it clear that Cleverly was appearing later:
And Hartley-Brewer asked Cleverly on the programme about his empty-chairing by Burley – proving definitively that the attempt to whitewash his Sky News cowardice was desperate invention by Tory spin-doctors:
Instead of diverting Cleverly’s shame, the desperation of his handlers has simply given it fresh legs, making it loom even larger – and compounding the Tories’ disastrous start to their election campaign.
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