Paul Waugh is reporting that David Cameron has backed out of an interview with Jeremy Paxman for Panorama next Monday. Nick Clegg already faced him two days ago (and held his own as I blogged about here). Gordon Brown is still to confirm if he will take part.
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
I'm not sure what Cameron is playing at here. In elections since 1964 the party leaders have all faced a Panorama "big interview". The fact that the Tory leader has backed out breaks with this tradition.
I expect the Tories will claim that because of the leader debates there is no need for the big interview. I don't buy that. The style and specific focus on the leader and their policies by such a leading interviewer is quite different from the way the leader debates are structured.
I also think the fact that Nick Clegg went ahead with his throws Cameron's decision into sharp relief and will not be received well by people.
I think Cameron should find time in his schedule to face Paxman. If he doesn't then people will justifiably ask what he is afraid of.