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Saturday 23 September 2023 Dublin: 14°C
# Day One
Sky News' Kay Burley goes viral after 'empty chairing' Tory MP who denies he agreed to go on
James Cleverly claims that he was not booked to appear on the show.

UK MEDIA WATCHDOG Ofcom may investigate Kay Burley’s “empty chairing” of a senior Tory politician on the first day of campaigning in the UK general election.

A clip of what happened shows the Sky News’ morning anchor speaking to an empty chair which she says represents Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly who she says was to appear on the show.

Burley then rattles through a number of planned questions she wished to put to the Tory politician.

The questions related to a number of stories about Tory politicians such as a doctored campaign video, a senior resignation and Jacob Rees-Mogg’s controversial comments about the Grenfell Tower disaster

Tweet by @Lewis Goodall Lewis Goodall / Twitter Lewis Goodall / Twitter / Twitter

Sitting next to a vacant seat which she said was “supposed to be filled” by the politician, Burley said: “Where is he? He’s probably 15ft away from where I’m standing just at the moment.

I’ve been in to see him during the break, he said he wasn’t due to come and talk to us today although they had said that they would talk to us.

“I know that Number 10 Downing Street watch our show,” Burley added.

“I know that the spin doctors at Number 10 Downing Street had absolutely reassured me via text that when politicians were doing the rounds in the morning, they would be doing this programme – and yet, we have an empty chair.”

A clip of Burley’s interview with the empty chair has been shared thousands of times online and has seen her name trending across Ireland and the United Kingdom. 

Cleverly, however, claims that he was not booked to appear on the show and Ofcom has received numerous complaints regarding the Sky News presenter’s actions.

The complaints to Ofcom are understood by PA news agency to relate to Burley’s claims and the empty chair gesture.

A spokeswoman for Ofcom said: “We are assessing these against our broadcasting rules before deciding whether or not to investigate.” 

Cleverly responded to Burley’s claims during a TalkRadio interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer.

“We hadn’t booked in to go on her show, and I was sitting in this studio preparing to talk to you, as I’m now doing, and she said, ‘I want you to come on my show now’,” he said.

“I like to think I’m a pretty decent multitasker, but I cannot physically be in two places at the same time.”

Burley later tweeted: “He ducked us on the media round but then said yes to my team when we tracked him down.”

Sky have declined to comment on the incident or complaints to Ofcom.

- With reporting by Press Association 

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