Piers Morgan and Stacey Dooley lead support for Newsnight's Emily Maitlisby Louise Griffin
Piers Morgan and Stacey Dooley have thrown support behind Emily Maitlis after her controversial comments about Dominic Cummings on Newsnight.
Maitlis accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Number 10 of ‘blind loyalty’ to Cummings in the ongoing row over the aide’s lockdown trip, in what appeared to many as a breach of the BBC impartiality rules.
The BBC later ruled that the episode ‘did not meet’ their impartiality standards.
The broadcaster also confirmed to Metro.co.uk that Emily won’t be hosting Wednesday night’s episode of Newsnight. It’s our understanding that the BBC did not stop or prevent her from presenting.
However, Piers has been left fuming with the decision about Emily’s comments, writing on Twitter: ‘So, Lord Hall said nothing as the Govt banned ministers from @BBCNewsnight for months, but humiliates @maitlis for speaking the truth about lying Cummings? This is why I’d never work for the BBC – great journalists, cowardly weasel management.’
He added of the news that she won’t be presenting the episode: ‘Sorry, WHAT? This is disgraceful.’
Stacey Dooley said: ‘Emily has been reprimanded. And Dominic Cummings hasn’t.’
Responding to the news that Emily won’t be hosting Newsnight, Susanna Reid added: ‘Not ok to do this to @maitlis.’
Fellow Newsnight presenter Katie Razzall has clarified on Twitter: ‘Just for the record, Emily @maitlis has not been asked by the BBC to take tonight off – and if I thought she had been, I certainly wouldn’t have agreed to present the show @BBCNewsnight.’
At the beginning of Emily’s Tuesday night broadcast, she said the PM’s adviser ‘broke the rules’ by taking a controversial 260-mile trip to County Durham with his family in March, when lockdown had been put in place.
She also said his move ‘made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools’.
Emily Maitlis' comments on Newsnight
‘Dominic Cummings broke the rules, the country can see that, and it’s shocked the Government cannot. ‘The longer ministers and the Prime Minister tell us he worked with them, the more angry the response to this scandal is likely to be.
‘He was the man, remember, who always got the public mood, he tagged the lazy label of ‘elite’ on those who disagreed. ‘He should understand that public mood now. One of fury, contempt and anguish.
‘He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools, and has allowed many more to assume they can now flout them.
‘The Prime Minister knows all this, but despite the resignation of one minister, growing unease from his backbenchers, a dramatic early warning from the polls, and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it.
‘Tonight we consider what this blind loyalty tells us about the workings of Number 10.’
Following uproar from viewers, the BBC released a statement on Wednesday afternoon that read: ‘The BBC must uphold the highest standards of due impartiality in its news output.
‘We’ve reviewed the entirety of last night’s Newsnight, including the opening section, and while we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism, we feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme.
‘As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality. Our staff have been reminded of the guidelines.’
Mr Cummings faced widespread backlash after he travelled 260 miles from London to Durham during the UK lockdown.
Cummings has been backed by Boris Johnson and explained that he felt the travel was necessary. He has also said he harbours ‘no regrets’ about driving his son and wife, who were displaying symptoms of COVID-19, to Durham.
Newsnight airs tonight at 10:45pm on BBC Two.
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