PUBLISHED: 18:42, Fri, Jul 12, 2019 | UPDATED: 19:05, Fri, Jul 12, 2019
Andrew Neil was told to "check your facts" after claiming Boris Johnson had pushed Britain's US ambassador Kim Darroch to resign by failing to defend him during a televised debate on Tuesday. The British Ambassador to Washington came under fire after incendiary comments he had made over President Donald Trump were leaked to the public. After the BBC host suggested Mr Johnson's performance in the debate had influenced the diplomat's decision to quit, the former frontbencher hit back: "Actually I spoke to him the following day and said how sad I was he had resigned and he pointed out that he didn’t watch it.
"You might need to check your facts, Andrew, before you. He told me he had not watched the show."
Mr Neil rebuked his claim, saying sourced had suggested the Ambassador had tuned in to watch the debate from his official residence in the American capital.
He said: "He didn’t say to you that what you had said – I’m told he watched it with his wife in the residency."
The pair exchanged barbs throughout the interview, one of the last ones before the winner of the Tory leadership contest is announced at the end of the month.
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Andrew Neil was told to "check his facts" during the interview with Boris Johnson (Image: BBC)
Boris Johnson insisted he played no role in Darroch's resignation (Image: BBC)
Mr Johnson insisted he was not to blame for Mr Darroch's decision, claiming that "the real culprits are the people who leaked that material." He also expressed his commitment to the independence of senior civil servants to "say what they want to their political masters without fear or favour."
But the BBC host accused the former Foreign Minister of having deflectied questions throughout the contest: "You’re doing what you’ve done throughout this campaign.
"You get asked a question and then you go on to something else which is a sideline to the actual issue.
"What I’m asking