Boris Johnson slammed as he cancels appearance in front of top Commons committee for third time
Boris Johnson has been slammed for taking the "extraordinary" decision to cancel his appearance before a cross-party groups of senior MPs for the third time so he can "focus on Brexit".
Sarah Wollaston, who chairs the Liaison Select Committee, accused Mr Johnson of an "unacceptable" attempt to avoid scrutiny after he announced his decision just hours before the session was scheduled to begin.
The Prime Minister had already delayed his first sesson with the group - made up of select committee chairs - in August before cancelling for a second time in September as a result of his decision to unlawfully prorogue Parliament.
But in a hand written note sent to Ms Wollaston on Wednesday evening, Mr Johnson said he was cancelling Thursday morning's session and instead proposed a date marking "five or six months" after he became PM..
"I promised that I would come to the Liaison Committee and I will keep that promise but I am afraid I must now focus on delivering Brexit and the difficult circumstances in which we now find ourselves," he wrote.
"And I believe I would be of greater value if I could postpone to a fixed date in five or six months after I became PM, so that my apperance take place after nearly the same period in office as Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May.
"I do hope you will understand."
But in her reply to the Prime Minister, LIb Dem MP Ms Wollaston hit out at the decision, saying he was "refusing to be held to account".
"Frankly, I am astonished that, at such short notice, you are refusing to face detailed scrutiny from select committee chairs tomorrow morning. This is the third time that you have postponed or cancelled," she wrote.
"I have already conveyed the committee's deep disappointment that you did not appear on Wednesday 11th September, despite your suggestion of that date and your later reassurance that you would keep that commitment.
She added: "Our role as select committee chairs is to ask you detailed questions on behald of the public and we planned to do so on Brexit, climate change, health and social care. It is unacceptable that you are refusing to be held to account."
Meanwhile, Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee said the decision was "very suprising and disappointing".
"I was being asked by the PM's team what may come up just over an hour ago," he tweeted.
"At a moment when the decisions we are taking will affect generations, scrutiny matters."