WATCH: The BBC “needs to wake up”, says McDonnell

In light of Boris Johnson delaying his own interview with Andrew Neil and possibly refusing altogether, John McDonnell has warned the BBC that it needs to “wake up” as it is “being played” by the Prime Minister.

Appearing on BBC One this morning, the Shadow Chancellor defended Channel 4, saying: “I completely understand why Channel 4 empty-chaired him in that way. But I tell you, the BBC needs to wake up to this as well because I think you’re being played by Boris Johnson.

“He’s avoiding his interview with Andrew Neil. He’s delaying it beyond postal vote stage. So I think you need to start looking at yourselves, about what you should be doing to hold him to account. He’s making sure there isn’t a proper debate.”

As the BBC Breakfast presenter interrupted to explain that “talks are ongoing” on the Andrew Neil interview, McDonnell said: “He’s playing you! No, he’s playing you!”

On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme earlier in the morning, the top Labour figure similarly said: “This is a matter of honour. Why is Boris Johnson doing this? He’s playing the BBC.

“He thinks, like his Bullingdon Club friends, that they’re above the rest of us, that they don’t need to be held to account. He’s running scared because he knows that Andrew Neil will take him apart.”

More from LabourList