Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan has hit out at Brexiteers who have reported to Ofcom his interviews of government ministers during the coronavirus outbreak.
Morgan, who is sympathetic to the Brexit cause and has called for people to accept the ‘will of the people’, has been accused of ‘betraying the cause’ with his criticisms of Boris Johnson’s government.
One interview with care minister Helen Whately prompted almost 4,000 complaints when she was accused of ‘laughing’ over questioning about coronavirus deaths.
A grilling of health secretary Matt Hancock prompted 600, with the presenter blaming Brexiteers for the level of complaints.
But the broadcasting watchdog has ruled in Morgan’s favour their decision not to investigate his daily interviews with ministers.
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It has prompted the presenter to call them out as he read out the ruling on-air.
‘I’ve had a few run-ins with Ofcom but I have to say, I was rather pleased with this.
‘We remain on air and we can continue grilling politicians. I think the point I made to people on Twitter, who were all raging away. Everyone’s getting very angry, obviously.
‘I was saying, look, you’ve got to remember we’re all on the same side here in an unusual war. You’ve got to put aside all of the Brexit nonsense that went on before that split the country that even now, people think everything is about that. ‘And if you criticise the government over the pandemic, and its handling of the crisis, somehow it is to do with Brexit. It’s got nothing to do with Brexit.’
He continued: ‘All the abuse I’m getting is from Brexiteers as if somehow betraying the cause. Well, A) I didn’t even want Brexit in the first place and B) I did actually campaign for you to get your Brexit when people tried to stop it from happening.’
He added: ‘There is a really concerted effort by the pro-Brexit group to howl me into silence as if somehow it has anything to do with it.
‘My only role here as with Susanna and the others is to hold the government to account. To me it has nothing to do with partisan politics.’
The watchdog said in the interviews with Hancock and Whately the guests had ‘adequate opportunity to put their points across’.
‘In Ofcom’s view, in line with freedom of expression, it is clearly in the public interest that broadcasters are able to hold those making political decisions to account, particularly during a major national crisis, such as the coronavirus pandemic,’ it added.
The ruling did not satisfy the complainants. One argued Ofcom was ‘biased’.
‘How Ofcom have come out on the side of Morgan is unreal – it makes the watchdog politically loaded, biased & not worth the huge sums of money given to it by the government.’