Five questions for Andrew Neil to ask Boris Johnson

After Jeremy Corbyn was interrogated last night by the BBC journalist, we look forward to the Prime Minister’s turn in the hot seat.

NS

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

Jeremy Corbyn's interview with Andrew Neil was a disaster for the Labour party. From failing to apologise for anti-Semitism to petulantly trying to bash away legitimate probing on WASPI spending, Corbyn's performance resulted in no shortage of atrocious headlines. But at least the leader of the Labour party showed up.

The Prime Minister still has not agreed to a date for an interview with Neil. Here are some questions he ought to be answering:

Apologise

Women who wear burqas are "letterboxes", the people of Congo have "watermelon smiles," Uganda's problem is that "we are not in charge anymore,"  there are "flag-waving picaninnies" in the commonwealth  — it is little surprise that a YouGov poll for the Times showed that an equal percentage of people think Johnson is racist as think Corbyn is an anti-Semite. Will the Prime Minister apologise for these offensive remarks?

Fishing

Neil ought to go in hard on the specifics of Johnson's "great deal". £989 million worth of fish was caught in the UK last year — by comparison, teaching English as a foreign language generated £1.2 billion worth of exports. Given the number of times the fishing industry has appeared in the Brexit debate, fishing ought to at least benefit from leaving the EU. Why then does section 42 of Johnson's Brexit deal say that the UK will continue to abide by the Common Fisheries Policy? Why has the campaign group Fishing for Leave described Johnson as "surrendering our fishing"? 64 per cent of British-caught fish was exported last year. In 2016, 71 per cent of those exports went to the EU. Mr Johnson, why have you negotiated a terrible deal for our fisherman? Why will foreign boats continue to fish in our waters? If even members of the EEA like Norway and Iceland face tariffs on the fish they export to the EU, isn't it a question of how much will the tariffs amount to, not whether there will be any? 

Russia Report

If there is no conspiracy, then why is Johnson sitting on the Intelligence Committee's report into Russian interference? Why is the government not releasing the report? Why is the government not releasing the report? Why is the government not releasing the report?

NHS waiting times

Should a 21-year old woman have to wait five months to start chemotherapy? The Independent carried a report earlier this year about Hannah Burnett, who was given a suspected diagnosis of lymphoma in July 2018, only to begin her treatment in December. It is now a given that waiting time targets are not met. How many people need to suffer and die before the Conservatives properly fund the NHS?

One Nation Purge

Michael Heseltine, Dominic Grieve, Amber Rudd, Nicky Morgan, David Gauke, Ken Clarke, Johnson's own brother Jo — if the Tories are still a one nation party, why are so many one nation Tories stepping down at this election, or leaving the party altogether? Have the Tories been cannibalised by UKIP?

George Grylls is the winner of the Anthony Howard Award 2019.