Politics

Sunak to stop daily interviews with ministers on morning shows

Rishi Sunak is to axe the daily appearance of ministers on morning breakfast shows, it is understood.

Instead of being grilled on the airwaves every day, the government will now only provide a minister to be interviewed around three mornings a week.

The move was first reported by the Daily Mirror, which said the appearances will be focused on when there is an “announcement”.

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It is understood that Downing Street will take a “flexible” approach to appearances, with sources rejecting the suggestion the move amounts to an axing of the broadcast round.

The daily broadcast round typically sees a minister appear on Sky’s Kay Burley breakfast show, BBC Breakfast, Good Morning Britain, BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and other outlets to answer questions and defend the government each weekday morning.

Government decisions over whether or not to talk to broadcasters have proven controversial in recent years, with ministers regularly boycotting programmes if they are upset about interviews or how they are reported

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Boris Johnson’s administration was criticised in the wake of the 2019 general election for a boycott of the Today programme, which lasted until the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Good Morning Britain was also given the cold shoulder for months, with Mr Johnson once famously accused of hiding in a fridge to dodge Piers Morgan and Susana Reid’s questions.

Some outlets have responded to the boycotts by “empty chairing” ministers.

‘Accountability at every level’

The move to scale back the daily interviews is likely to attract criticism for dodging scrutiny, given that Mr Sunak promised “integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level” when he entered Downing Street.

That has already come into question following a number of controversies surrounding his cabinet appointments.

This week, deputy PM and justice secretary Dominic Raab requested an investigation into himself following two formal complaints made against him after days of bullying allegations, which he has denied.

It came days after Sir Gavin Williamson resigned from government over accusations of bullying.

The head of the civil servants union has told Sky News several government ministers have “bullied staff”.

Mr Sunak has also faced criticism for reinstating Suella Braverman as home secretary just six days after she was forced to step down over a security breach.

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