In place of a grilling by the more formidable Andrew Neil, which Labour fears the prime minister will duck, Boris Johnson’s interview with Andrew Marr will have to suffice for now.
But it was a scrappy affair, and one that Tory strategists will likely be satisfied with as their man hustled over the finishing line without managing to commit few if any acts of “making news”.
About the only one was the figure of 74 which Johnson gave for the number of people who are out on early release in circumstances similar to that of the London Bridge attacker.
The prime minister was repeatedly accused by Marr of seeking to run the clock down, talking over questions in order to avoid answering them or just continuing to blame Labour in government despite the Tories having been in power since 2010.
It came to a rushed conclusion, with Marr asking the prime minister questions such as “Are you going to meet Donald Trump this week at the Nato summit?” to which the obvious and easy answer was “Of course I am.”
Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, came through his interview with Sophy Ridge of Sky – broadcast earlier – without taking much flak either.
When the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, came on afterwards, he seemed primed to attack the Labour leader over his past comments about shoot-to-kill policies. Corbyn – presumably better primed by advisers at this point – had sought to nullify such attack lines, however, by agreeing that police at London Bridge had no choice but to shoot Usman Khan dead.
There were other moments. Corbyn talked about the size of the Royal family, but it’s highly debatable about how much that will be a vote loser (or even winner with some?).
On foreign policy, he was nuanced on Nato and avoiding leaving hostages to fortune by repeating past comments made from the time when he was more likely to be in the front line of Stop the War marches than on the opposition front benches, although one or two lines might invite further scrutiny. When he talked about “bringing about a respectful relationship with Russia”, was this an echo of his past criticism of Nato expansion into states like Ukraine?
Overall though, this was an assured performance by Corbyn, perhaps one of his best during the campaign so far. But it was largely playing it safe when his party are trailing the Tories in the polls.