SOUTH SWINDON candidate Robert Buckland defended the prime minister over a car-crash interview in which he refused to look at a picture of a boy on the floor of a hospital waiting room.

On BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Nick Robinson asked the justice secretary why, when Boris Johnson was presented with a reporter’s phone which showed a photo of the boy, the PM refused to look and put the phone in his pocket.

Mr Buckland said: “In the hundreds of interviews that the prime minister has done, there will come moments where you are suddenly sprung with something and it’s difficult to know exactly what’s happening.”

Mr Robinson disagreed and said that Mr Johnson would have been well aware of the photo beforehand.

Mr Buckland added: “He clearly had not seen the photo and did talk about it and express sorrow and regret for what he saw. What happened to this young boy was not acceptable.

“The family of the young lad don’t want this to be used as a political football.”

The Conservative candidate for south Swindon was also challenged about the party’s press office telling reporters about an assault on the health secretary’s assistant that did not actually happen.

Mr Buckland added: “People had organised themselves to come along and cause trouble. It’s not a way to conduct civilised politics. People were shouting towards Matt Hancock and his team.”