United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s Conservative Party is complaining after he skipped a televised climate debate ahead of the nation’s election next month and was replaced with an ice sculpture.
Ice sculptures with party logos replaced Johnson and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson and other party leaders participated in the Thursday debate run by broadcasting network Channel 4, according to media reports.
Farage did not appear because the debate did not include discussions about Brexit.
These are the introductory #ClimateDebate statements from the leaders of Labour, the SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens.
Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage did not accept our invitation to attend. pic.twitter.com/NTHrDTK9hW
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) November 28, 2019
The Conservative Party tried to tap minister Michael Gove to replace Johnson, but Channel 4 denied their request. The prime minister reportedly sent his father and Gove to “argue their way into” the debate, which was supposed to be only for party leaders.
In a last ditch attempt @BorisJohnson has sent his two wing men best friend @michaelgove and dad Stanley Johnson to argue their way into a programme intended only for leaders. they were lovely and charming but neither are the leader #climatedebate pic.twitter.com/3TdGT3Q4ZJ
— Ben de Pear (@bendepear) November 28, 2019
The Tories called on the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom to investigate Channel 4, saying the debate served as “a provocative partisan stunt,” The Guardian reported Thursday.
The party also said it would review Channel 4’s broadcasting remit if they win the December election. The channel’s license expires in 2024.
“We are deeply disappointed that Channel 4 News has conspired with Jeremy Corbyn to block the Conservatives from making the case for tackling climate change and protecting the environment in this evening’s debate,” a party spokesman said in a statement obtained by The Guardian.
Meanwhile, the European parliament voted to declare a “climate and environmental emergency” on Thursday. The U.K. made a similar declaration in May.