- UPDATE: Theresa May has now agreed to an eleventh-hour interview with Jon Snow.
- The Channel 4 News anchor told BI earlier on Wednesday that May refused repeated attempts to appear on his show.
- Snow said May was the first PM to refuse him an interview in almost 30 years.
- He believes the Conservatives were not prepared for a snap election.
- May’s relations with some media outlets have been strained during this campaign.
LONDON — One of Britain’s most respected newsreaders called out Theresa May for being the first prime minister to refuse him an interview in his 28 years of anchoring general election campaign coverage.
Channel 4 News host Jon Snow, who is a veteran of seven election campaigns, interviewing everyone from John Major to Tony Blair and David Cameron on the campaign trail, told Business Insider that May was the first PM to rebuff his requests for an interview.
But just hours after Business Insider published his quotes, May performed a U-turn. She has now agreed to a five-minute interview with Snow during a busy final day of campaigning, according to Channel 4 News editor Ben de Pear. A time for the interview is now being agreed.
Earlier on Wednesday, Snow told BI: “We’ve gone through all the correct procedures. We started at the beginning of the election campaign by saying that we would want, as usual, an interview with the Prime Minister. We have repeated the request two or three times a week at the beginning of the campaign, and more or less daily since.”
Snow, who has anchored Channel 4 News since 1989, said: “The essence of democracy is openness and engagement — and that’s a process that involves both the media and the public. It’s not been as it has been before [in past elections] and I guess that’s because no one was ready.”
He believes the Conservative campaign was not prepared for a snap election, which was called by May on April 18 after she repeatedly said it would not happen. “There doesn’t seem to have been any coherent planning,” the presenter said.
‘A difficult election to cover’
He said it has been a “very difficult election to cover” because of the limited access. He is not the only one to complain about this issue — Sky News raised concerns about access earlier in the campaign. It claimed it was being barred from interviewing key Tory ministers because the party had taken issue with its coverage.
The Conservative Party did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment, but it is worth noting that May has engaged with Channel 4 during the campaign. She took part in “May v Corbyn Live: The Battle for Number 10” last month, which was shown on both Channel 4 and Sky News.
Sky’s concerns have subsided considerably since it complained last month and access has improved. Political editor Faisal Islam interviewed May on Tuesday, for example.
“You can see for yourself where it’s at. Access is important and it’s helpful, but there’s much more to reporting politics,” Jonathan Levy, Sky News’ director of news-gathering and operations, told us last week.
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