Boris Johnson “doesn’t want to make the case for what he’s doing”, Adam Boulton has said as he bows out from Sky News after 32 years.
The former political editor, who has been with the channel since it went on air in 1989, presented his last live programme on Friday morning.
Asked how politics has changed since he began his long broadcasting career, he said political journalists get to see senior figures “much less” than they used to.
He explained: “Mrs Thatcher, whenever she was out and about she would do interviews – not just with Sky but the BBC, ITV, all the rest of it…
“I don’t think Boris Johnson has actually sat down in a chair to do a proper interview for a couple of years.”
Boulton sounded unimpressed with pool interviews – where one journalist asks the PM questions and the footage is sent to the main broadcasters.
“It’s in a controlled environment, normally at a location of his choice,” Boulton said.
“He may be at a vaccination centre or somewhere – and he doesn’t want to make the case for what he’s doing.
“We’ve seen that with the way he’s treated the House of Commons and elsewhere.”
There is nothing partisan in these comments, Boulton said.
“It’s not about left or right or whether you like Boris Johnson,” he continued, adding that the prime minister’s approach to the media is “bad for democracy” because political journalists “explain to people what’s happening”.
Barack Obama was one of Boulton’s favourite interviewees.
The former US president has a “quality which I think marks out a great political leader which is that he listened to the question and engaged with the question, rather than going in with a line to take and just repeating it or blustering”.
What a journalist wants from an interview is “engagement”, Boulton said, because that is the best way to get a message out to the audience.
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