Good Morning Britain broadcast an empty chair after ministers failed to appear on the show to discuss the latest revelations in the partygate scandal.
Boris Johnson is battling to save his premiership after police launched a criminal investigation into possible breaches of Covid regulations at Number 10 and Whitehall departments following reports of parties held during lockdown.
A Tory MP on Tuesday claimed the prime minister was “ambushed with a cake” during a Downing Street birthday gathering held in June 2020 despite indoor events being banned due to coronavirus restrictions.
Top civil servant Sue Gray’s inquiry into the alleged parties is expected to soon be published.
But on Wednesday GMB presenter Adil Ray claimed no ministers had agreed to appear on the ITV show to address the allegations, despite foreign secretary Liz Truss speaking to other programmes.
He told viewers: “As often happens when there’s a big news story around for the government, when they’ve got their backs to the wall, and they need to answer questions, is they disappear.”
The camera cut to a view of an empty chair in the studio where a government minister might have sat.
“We are hearing we may well not get a government minister this morning despite being a national breakfast show that has a predominantly Midlands and North-based audience as well so the fact the ministers are ignoring a big section of the UK this morning I think is very telling,” said Mr Ray.
“If ministers are around we’d love you to speak to the UK. There is a police investigation going on and the least you could do is answers some questions to us, if not the police.”
His co-host Susanna Reid added: “Don’t worry, you don’t have to answer them under caution on this programme.”
Ms Truss said No 10 had still not received the Sue Gray report on Wednesday morning.
When asked on Sky News whether it was right to say Downing Street had not yet received the report, she responded: “That’s correct. And, of course, it’s an independent report, it’s a matter for Sue Gray when she sends that report, when she’s completed her work.”