Why there were no Lib Dems on Sky News’s Sunday Live with Adam Boulton

by Stephen Tall on September 12, 2010

An interesting posting yesterday evening from Katie Snape on the Boulton & Co blog:

It’s 7pm on Saturday, I’m late for a friend’s wedding and I’m still waiting to find out whether I can send a satellite truck to Wiltshire for an interview with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander. How hard can it be? His special adviser says he wants to do it but apparently I’m waiting for clearance from Downing Street. I’ve left a message for No 10′s Head of Broadcast, he texted back and two hours later, I’m still waiting.

I started the week bidding for Nick Clegg. That was declined. Then Vince Cable. He was a Sky News’ regular (he lives nearby) but not anymore. I’ve bid for him virtually every week since the election but the request is always turned down. Then I tried Simon Hughes. That was a no. Ditto Chris Huhne. I tried several leading Conservative names too. All no. Bidding etiquette used to be that you only had one request in for a Secretary of State to avoid any diplomatic incidents if two said yes.

I know I’m not alone. Colleagues working for other broadcasters have found it hard going too. The coalition want to present a united face and the side-effect of that is that the guest chair on Sunday Live stays empty.

Whatever the reason for the no-show, it seems a shame for Lib Dem MPs to be passing up the opportunity to put the party’s case to viewers.

Update: I’m informed Danny Alexander did make it on air in the end. Still, it doesn’t sound like a smooth media management process.