Boris Johnson replaced by ice sculpture after dodging election debate on climate crisis

Johnson’s Conservative Party complained to the UK’s broadcasting watchdog Ofcom ahead of the Channel 4 event, which saw Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson and the heads of the UK’s other main parties quizzed on their plans to tackle the climate crisis ahead of next month’s poll.

The party said its offer of having minister Michael Gove stand in for Johnson was rejected by Channel 4, complaining the decision “effectively seeks to deprive the Conservative Party of any representation and attendance at the Channel 4 News debate.”

The program’s editor had earlier said Johnson “sent his two wing men” — Gove and Johnson’s father, Stanley — to attempt to “argue their way into” a program intended only for leaders.

Johnson and fellow no-show Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, were ultimately replaced with ice sculptures bearing their parties’ logos, which Channel 4 said was intended to “represent the emergency on planet earth.”

The event took place on the day that scientists warned the earth is heading to a “tipping point,” and hours after the European Parliament voted to declare a climate emergency. The UK became the first country to make such a declaration in May, after Corbyn’s Labour Party led a successful push to do so.

Corbyn earlier announced a plan to plant 2 billion new trees by 2040.

Johnson’s refusal to appear in the debate gave further fuel to charges that he is dodging scrutiny during the campaign. Several opposition figures criticized him…

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