UK’s Johnson replaced by ice block in TV debate, Conservatives cry foul

LONDON (Reuters) – British broadcaster Channel 4 represented Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a block of melting ice in a prime-time election debate on the environment on Thursday, prompting his Conservative Party to complain this broke impartiality rules.

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson adjusts his tie as he visits Chulmleigh College while campaigning in Devon ahead of the upcoming general election, in Chulmleigh, Britain November 28, 2019. Dan Kitwood Pool via REUTERS

The commercially funded public-service broadcaster invited leaders of all Britain’s main political parties to take part in the debate before Dec. 12’s election, but both Johnson and the leader of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage, declined to attend.

The Conservative Party offered former environment minister Michael Gove as a substitute, but the broadcaster said the debate was only intended for party leaders, and that the other political parties would not agree to change the terms.

“This effectively seeks to deprive the Conservative Party of any representation and attendance,” the Conservatives wrote in a letter of complaint to broadcast regulator Ofcom.

British television broadcasters are required to be politically impartial, and face extra balance requirements during election periods. Ofcom can fine broadcasters that do not comply, and as a last resort can cancel a broadcaster’s licence.

The Conservatives sai


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