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Row erupts as Johnson and Farage replaced by ice sculptures in Channel 4 Climate Debate

Row erupts as Johnson and Farage replaced by ice sculptures in Channel 4 Climate Debate

Channel 4 News hosted the first-ever leader's debate on the climate crisis on Thursday evening.

All of the major UK party leaders were invited to the debate, but only five attended. Jeremy Corbyn, Nicola Sturgeon, Jo Swinson, Sian Berry and Adam Price all attended the debate, but Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage did not and were replaced by ice sculptures, causing a row to erupt.

Stanley Johnson and Michael Gove visited Channel 4, but were told they would not be allowed to be part of the debate. It is believed that the other party leaders were asked if they would like to debate Michael Gove, but they all declined.

In the past, senior party figures have stood in for party leaders, such as when Amber Rudd stood in for Theresa May during a BBC debate in the 2017 election campaign.

The Conservatives have written to the broadcast regulator Ofcom to claim Channel 4's decision to not let Mr Gove speak in the leader's debate was in breach of the Broadcasting Code. There have also been reports by Buzzfeed that the party could review the broadcasting licence of Channel 4, which is state-owned.

The party claims that Channel 4 has breached its responsibility to give due impartiality to all parties. #BorisIsACoward was trending on Twitter after it was announced that Mr Johnson had declined to attend the debate.

Boris Johnson has also declined to confirm he will sit down for an interview with the BBC's Andrew Neil ahead of election day, whereas all other invited party leaders have confirmed this.

Photo Credit: Matt Brown via Flickr under licence (CC BY 2.0)

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