BBeing sent for the media tour in the middle of a difficult story is generally seen as an inevitable – even unenviable – part of a minister’s job. But with growing frequency in recent years, ministers simply didn’t show up – instead, they sat empty as they avoided the airwaves.
Energy bills are expected to increase by 80%
Not a single minister appeared on national breakfast television or radio on Friday to defend the government as news broke that energy bills were set to rise by 80%.
Energy regulator Ofgem announced a price cap change at 7am which will mean the average household’s annual bill will drop from £1,971 to £3,549 from October.
On a typical weekday, a minister visits TV and radio stations to be quizzed on the burning issues of that day, usually appearing on Sky News, BBC Breakfast, ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB), the program Today from Radio 4, LBC and others. On Friday, consumer rights champion Martin Lewis filled that void, saying it was “astounding” the announcement had come without any announced help, adding: “This is not good government, this is not a good policy.
Bring your own booze party
Broadcasters were forced to ’empty the chair’ of ministers on January 12, 2022, ahead of one of the most crucial Prime Minister’s Questions Boris Johnson had faced in his time as Prime Minister. Leaked emails alleged that a BYOB party was held in Downing Street Garden on May 20, 2020, with 100 staff members urged to make the most of the weather at the height of the pandemic.
With Johnson due to face Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer at midday, no minister was available to be grilled. GMB resorted to showing a clip of Johnson diving into a fridge to avoid questions. Meanwhile, Dan Walker told BBC Breakfast viewers: ‘We asked at 11.15am yesterday and throughout the day until 9pm last night but no minister was offered to come and explain exactly what happened.”
The alleged Downing Street Christmas party
After a leaked video emerged in December 2021 showing government aides laughing and joking about a ‘fictional’ Christmas party in 2020, there was a no-show from the secretary to the Health at the time, Sajid Javid. Javid, Sky News’ Kay Burley told viewers, was due to visit the studios on the first anniversary of the first vaccine. “But now we have been told that unfortunately no one has accepted our invitation.”
Nick Robinson, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, told listeners: “We were expecting to speak to Health Secretary Sajid Javid this morning but were told just minutes after this video aired that no minister would be available to speak on the program today.
Threat of Christmas restrictions (again)
After saying he reserved the right to introduce new measures at Christmas 2021, leaving the public unsure of what to expect, no representative was available to explain, Kay Burley told Sky News viewers . “We wanted to seek clarification from the government this morning, but there is no minister available to clear up this confusion for you,” she said. Shadow Employment Rights Minister Justin Madders, meanwhile, remarked: “People want answers, they want leadership; this lot is not even in the room.
Bank of England interest rate hike
Boris Johnson and his chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, were on vacation on August 4, 2022 as the Bank of England raised interest rates from 1.25% to 1.75%, the biggest increase since 1995, and put in guard against the longest recession since the financial crisis. . But, at the time this grim news broke, no one from numbers 10 or 11 was available for interviews.