Jon Snow calls out Theresa May for being the first PM to refuse him an interview

Jon Snow tells BI: “The essence of democracy is openness and engagement.”
Channel Four News
    Exclusive: Channel Four News anchor tells BI that May has refused repeated attempts to appear on his show. Snow says May is 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 has 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 has been the first PM to rebuff his requests for an interview.

“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 told BI.

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.

Theresa May on “May v Corbyn Live: The Battle for Number 10.”
Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

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.