Leaders clash over climate policies in Channel 4 News debate

An ice sculpture is put in place of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson before the start of the Channel 4 News' General Election climate debate at ITN Studios in Holborn central London on Nov 28 2019

An ice sculpture is put in place of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson before the start of the Channel 4 News' General Election climate debate at ITN Studios in Holborn central London on Nov 28 2019

Gove later took questions on climate change by coming live on Facebook.

Members of the UK's Conservative Party have threatened Channel 4 with review of its broadcasting obligations after it didn't allow Michael Gove and Boris Johnson's father to take part in a debate on climate change and replaced the PM with two melting ice sculptures, BuzzFeed reported citing a source from the Conservative Party.

The Conservatives complained to broadcast regulator Ofcom, calling the news program's action "a provocative partisan stunt" which had the potential to be seen as a political opinion in its own right.

A ferocious war of words broke out between Channel 4 and the Conservative Party moments before the programme went on air.

Told Mr Johnson did not take part, Sir David replied: "I know". I think that's a shame.

"Well, OK, let's not be all that pompous about it".

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who had refused to take part in the debate, was also replaced with an ice sculpture. That's what I want.

Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn took part in a head-to-head debate on ITV on November 19, with some 6.7 million people tuning in.

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What happened in the Channel 4 climate change debate?

Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson wrote to Ofcom about the matter and said it was "deeply concerning that a governing party would wish to restrict the free press".

Promising more state intervention in the economy is reminiscent of the left-of-center Labour Party, rather than the free-marketeer Conservatives, and appears created to help the Tories win over Brexit-backing Labour supporters.

Meanwhile, the BBC confirmed that discussions were "ongoing" with the Conservative party over a suitable date for Boris Johnson to be interviewed by renown journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil. However, the broadcaster said that the former Environmental Secretary was not welcome on the basis that it was a leaders' event.

"Broadcasters have important responsibilities to present a balanced debate representing all parties, and Michael Gove was well qualified to represent the Conservative position at this evening's debate".

The Editor of Channel 4 tweeted a photograph of Mr Gove and Mr Johnson trying to "argue their way on to the programme".

"However, as we made clear to him repeatedly, because he is not the leader of the Conservative Party, his participation was not required at tonight's £climatedebate - which was strictly for party leaders only".

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell accused the Prime Minister of "running scared" of being interviewed by Mr Neil.

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