Sky News faces Twitter backlash after broadcasting Ken Clarke's candid off-air comments about Tory leadership candidates

Clarke was heard giving his candid views on Tory leadership candidates / Sky News

Sky News has come under criticism over its journalistic practices after broadcasting a candid off-air conversation been former Conservative cabinet ministers Ken Clarke and Malcom Rifkind.

One-time chancellor Clarke was vocal in his criticism of the Tory leadership candidates, describing it as a "fiasco" and claiming that if Michael Gove were to become prime minister then Britain would "go to war with at least three countries at once."

During their discussion, Clarke said that the idea of Boris Johnson leading the country was "ridiculous" and that Gove did "us all a favour by getting rid of Boris" earlier this week. Theresa May also came under fire from Clarke who called her a "bloody difficult woman" but pointed out that both he and Rifkind had already worked with Margaret Thatcher. He added that May, who has been home secretary since 2010, "doesn't know much about foreign affairs."

Sky presenter Kay Burley had teased the footage ahead of it airing on Sky News, tweeting "OMG you are definitely going to want to watch our programme on @skynews at 2pm Safe to say, you're never alone with a microphone..." but viewers of the video have been quick to slam the broadcaster for releasing the off-air on-mic moment. Several Twitter users have pointed out that Clarke does not appear to realise he's being filmed:

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum. Based in London, she has interviewed key figures from brands like Airbnb, Amnesty International, Facebook and Spotify. She has covered international events in Berlin and Amsterdam, as well as Advertising Week Europe.

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