On the radio the other day they were discussing the possibility of staging televised debates for British politicians similar to the ones that happen during presidential elections in the USA. One commentator thought it was unlikely that the British Prime Minister would be willing to take part in such debates and that if he didn’t, the BBC might “empty chair” him.
According to The Guardian, empty chairing is “the practice of drawing attention to politicians’ refusal to show up. The aim is clear: to embarrass ministers for ducking tough questions.” While according to The Economist, empty chairing involves using an empty studio chair to symbolically represent someone who has refused to appear on a TV programme.
This seems to be similar to the practice of mentioning that somebody was “unavailable for comment” or “refused to comment” on a big news story.
Have you heard the term empty chairing used? Are there equivalents in other languages?