David Cameron thinks Boris Johnson has ‘always been able to get away with things that mere mortals can’t’

David Cameron thinks Boris Johnson has ‘always been able to get away with things that mere mortals can’t’

David Cameron has had a dig at his successor Boris Johnson where he accused the prime minister of being “able to get away with things that mere mortals can’t seem to.”

Speaking to Sky News presenter Adam Boulton, the former prime minister also appeared to subtly have a swipe at Johnson when he said he was “always available” to the media during his time in office at Number 10.

Boulton noted how Cameron previously requested for an official Number 10 photographer to document his time in office but was declined, and “ironically now there’s a whole team of them” for Johnson.

“Well, Boris has always been able to get away with things that mere mortals can’t seem to,” Cameron replied before explaining his stance on the relationship between politicians and the press.

“But, look, I think you shouldn’t do this to bypass the media. You go on having… whether it is press conferences or interviews or media events - this is important.

“And I always did. Yes, the press conferences were rather infrequent, but I never held back from going on the Today programme and coming on your show (All Out Politics).

“I mean, we were always available and keen to engage and to answer questions,” Cameron said before he added that the media has “an incredibly important role” in facilitating this.

Johnson is known for appearing to dodge media interviews - most famously in 2019 he hid in a fridge to avoid questions from Good Morning Britain hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid (the same show which government ministers boycotted for 201 days).

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

He was also challenged by Andrew Neil to pencil in an interview date with him ahead of the 2019 General Election, in a three-minute video, the broadcaster slammed Johnson for refusing to be interviewed.

In February 2020, Number 10 also prevented a number of news organisations (Independent, Mirror, PA Media and the Huffington Post) from attending a Brexit briefing - leading to journalists from Sky News, The Times, The Sun, Daily Mail and BBC to walk out in protest.

Meanwhile, Cameron continued and said that the prime minister should always make themselves available - but “not every day because you have got a country to run.”

“But I think, you know, the important interviews - whether it is the BBC Sunday morning programme or the Today programme or Sky News, TV debates - these are important, and I never sought to avoid them.”

(Though, it is worth mentioning that Cameron himself was accused of being a “chicken” after he failed to show up to some election debates back in 2015).

“I think there has been a bit of an arms race in a way,” the 55-year-old explained.

“Politicians have tooled up with special advisers and the spin doctors, and the media have tooled up by even more aggressive gotcha interviews to get that magic moment.

“I think we have got to try and have a relationship still distant and confrontational by moments - but understanding that you have got legitimate questions, but we have also got a responsibility to explain what we are doing.

“And can we try and find a bit of space for those things to coexist.”

Given his recent controversies- the alleged Christmas party, wallpaper gate, and sleaze scandal, along with a by-election loss in North Shropshire, Johnson’s approval rating has dropped to its lowest point since 2019, so could his ability to “get away with things” about to change?

The Conversation (0)