LONDON — On the final day of election campaigning in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of hiding in a refrigerator in an attempt to dodge an interview with TV anchor Piers Morgan.
“Morning prime minister, would you come on ‘Good Morning Britain’,' prime minister?” reporter Jonathan Swain asks before Johnson’s aide appears to mouth an expletive in response to the request.
The video then cuts back to seemingly stunned show hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid who utter “ooh!” in unison as footage continues to emerge of Johnson and his team giving the reporter the cold shoulder.
“I’ve just had a reaction from one of the minders. Okay, no need to push, thank you very much,” Swain can faintly be heard saying as Boris continues to walk in the other direction.
“I’ll be with you in a second,” the prime minister says before turning his back on the crowd and walking directly into an oversized refrigerator. “It’s a very frosty reception we’ve had so far,” Swain said while laughing.
Footage of the incident circulated widely Wednesday morning with #fridgegate swiftly becoming the top trend in Britain. Within an hour, almost 21,000 tweets had been sent regarding Johnson’s icy retreat. While some expressed sheer dismay, others were flabbergasted by the prime minister’s actions.
“Great to see @BorisJohnson out on the campaign trail in Yorkshire this morning! Sorry to hear about the chilly reception mate. #fridgegate,” tweeted politician and activist Magid Magid, while sharing an image of a fridge on the roadside.
“We have one more day. Make sure you have your voice heard. Vote to honour the promises of the past and for a brighter vision of the future. Vote Conservative tomorrow,” Johnson tweeted after the incident, to which Morgan replied: “You couldn’t even honour a promise to do an interview, Fridge-hider.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also joined the thousands of people discussing #FridgeGate on Wednesday, tweeting: “I’ve not come here to hide in a fridge. I’ve come here with a message of hope!”
It’s not been a great week for Johnson: On Monday, he was accused of pocketing a reporter’s phone while refusing to look at an image of a sick child on a British hospital floor, and Tuesday, Labour lawmaker Rosena Allin-Khan said he copied her “Love, Actually” idea for a campaign ad. Actor Hugh Grant also criticized Johnson’s attempt to re-create the scene from the much-loved 2003 Christmas film.