Piers Morgan has claimed that Tory leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt has refused “daily requests” to appear on his TalkTV show.
The Conservative MP is currently among the five politicians in the running to replace Boris Johnson as the leader of the party and Prime Minister.
On Monday (18 July), The Guardian’s chief political correspondent Jessica Elgot published on Twitter a statement from Mordaunt in which she called out her competitors who could not “find a way to debate one another in a civil way”.
“Throughout this contest she has never dodged media or shied away from broadcast interviews and debates – people deserve to hear from their leaders,” she said.
The statement was later deleted by Elgot, after she was told by Mordaunt’s team that it was sent in error.
Morgan, however, had already responded to the original post, where he denied her claims.
“Ms Mordaunt has turned down daily requests to appear on @PiersUncensored so this statement is untrue,” Morgan tweeted.
In a seperate tweet, Morgan also accused Tory leadership of “ducking debates” – including invites to appear on his talk show.
“Tory leadership candidates ducking debates (as well as ducking being interviewed on Piers Morgan Uncensored isn’t *massively* encouraging given the challenges that lie ahead for our next Prime Minister, not least standing up to Putin,” he wrote.
The Independent has contacted Mordaunt’s representatives for comment.
After retracting their original statement, Mordaunt’s team said: “Media scrutiny is important in this contest. Penny has done broadcast and allowed time for journalists to ask questions at her launch. MPs aren’t just picking a new leader, but picking the nation’s new PM.”
Elgot published the revised statement on her Twitter.
It comes as Sky News cancelled their forthcoming leadership debate after both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss pulled out.
The broadcaster said that “Conservative MPs are said to be concerned about the damage the debates are doing to the image of the Conservative Party, exposing disagreements and splits within the party”.
On Monday (18 July), MPs in the Conservative Party are set to hold a third ballot in the Tory leadership contest, eliminating one more contender with the smallest number of votes.
By Wednesday (20 July), the candidates will be whittled down to two that will face a vote of the Tory membership over the summer.