Petition created in support of Emily Maitlis after being reprimanded for Dominic Cummings monologue

Emily Maitlis presents BBC's Newsnight. Photograph: BBC.

Emily Maitlis presents BBC's Newsnight. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

A petition has been launched opposing the BBC's decision to reprimand Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis for her monologue about Dominic Cummings' rule-breaking.

Maitlis is not expected to appear on Wednesday's programme after introducing the last show saying the prime minister's chief adviser had 'broken the rules' and 'the country can see that, and it's shocked the government cannot'.

Despite praise for the comments, the BBC issued a reprimand to staff as they 'did not meet our standards of due impartiality'.

It was shortly after reported Maitlis will not present the next programme, with UK editor Katie Razzall instead hosting.

A spokesperson for the BBC denied that the presenter had been 'removed', and added that they have 'not prevented Emily from presenting' Wednesday's programme.

Emily Maitlis presents BBC Newsnight. Photograph: BBC.

Emily Maitlis presents BBC Newsnight. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

Razzall tweeted herself she would not be presenting the programme if Maitlis was stopped from appearing.

But there was an outpouring of support against the earlier statement, including an online petition with almost 5,000 signatures in the first hour.

The petition text - aimed at BBC bosses - reads: 'Less than 24 hours after Emily Maitlis spoke for people in the UK and spoke truth to power she has been removed from Newsnight.

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'How can it be just and appropriate that a woman is removed for telling the truth, while an unelected man appears bulletproof even after lying and showing no contrition?

Emily Maitlis introduces BBC Newsnight

Emily Maitlis introduces BBC Newsnight with a summary of the government's reponse to the Dominic Cummings story. - Credit: BBC

'Her removal tells us so much about the degree of control the government has on our national broadcaster. We have suspected it for a long time. This time it's hiding in plain sight.

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'Please join me and sign this not just to reinstate Emily Maitlis but to also send a message to this and successive governments. You will not silence those brave women and men who choose not to stand by while terrible things happen.'

Those to speak out against the corporation's decision includes Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan.

He branded the BBC statement 'utterly disgraceful', adding the corporation was 'chucking one of its best journalists under the bus for telling the truth'.

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Former Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason, who said that the decision made him 'sick'. He added: 'Every word Maitlis said was true: truth is the criterion of real journalism.'

Labour MP Harriet Harman wrote: 'Tonight Dominic Cummings is still doing his job and @maitlis is not doing hers #shameful!'

Keith Brown, SNP deputy leader, said: 'This statement is a gutless capitulation by BBC bosses. Newsnight should be commended - not slapped down - for their serious investigative work on Cummings, that's not something you could say about the BBC News at 10.

'Pandering to 10 Downing Street by curbing journalists from being able to hold the UK government to account is of serious concern.'

'It's ironic that the only apology over the whole Dominic Cummings lockdown breaches scandal comes from the BBC,' added an SNP spokesperson.

The online petition can be signed here.

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