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Kay Burley ’empty chairs’ James Cleverly after Tory chairman’s no-show

Ms Burley went on to list all the topics she had hoped to address with Mr Cleverly.

Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly (PA)
Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly (PA)

By Max McLean, PA

Sky News presenter Kay Burley gave Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly the “empty chair” treatment after claiming he had missed a planned appearance on her breakfast show.

Sitting next to a vacant seat which she said was “supposed to be filled” by the politician, Ms Burley said: “Where is he? He’s probably 15ft away from where I’m standing just at the moment.

“I’ve been in to see him during the break, he said he wasn’t due to come and talk to us today although they had said that they would talk to us.”

Ms Burley then listed a number of topics she had hoped to discuss with Mr Cleverly, including Jacob Rees-Mogg’s recent controversial comments about the Grenfell Tower tragedy and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comparison of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to Joseph Stalin.

“I know that Number 10 Downing Street watch our show,” Ms Burley said.

“I know that the spin doctors at Number 10 Downing Street had absolutely reassured me via text that when politicians were doing the rounds in the morning, they would be doing this programme – and yet, we have an empty chair.”

Mr Cleverly responded to Burley’s claims during a TalkRadio interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer.

“We hadn’t booked in to go on her show, and I was sitting in this studio preparing to talk to you, as I’m now doing, and she said, ‘I want you to come on my show now’,” he said.

“I like to think I’m a pretty decent multitasker, but I cannot physically be in two places at the same time.”

Ms Burley later tweeted: “He ducked us on the media round but then said yes to my team when we tracked him down.”

PA

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