Piers Morgan receives hundreds of complaints after he refused to read government statement during ministers’ boycott

Piers Morgan refuses to read government statement. Photograph: Good Morning Britain.

Piers Morgan refuses to read government statement. Photograph: Good Morning Britain. - Credit: Archant

Television presenter Piers Morgan has attracted hundreds of complaints after he refused to read a government statement during a boycott from ministers.

The Good Morning Britain presenter refused to read a statement from the government, in which it defended Helen Whately for her comments over student nurses and their role during the coronavirus pandemic.

Morgan stuck his fingers in his ears as co-presenter Susanna Reid tried to read what the government had to say.

As Reid attempt to read the press release, Morgan interrupted, saying: 'Sorry, why have we got to read this?'

He told viewers: 'If a government won't come on our programme, why should we read their wishy-washy statement? If they want to have their statement read then come on the programme.'

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He then urged Reid to scrap the announcement. 'If they're not going to come on - they're boycotting us - I'm going to boycott their stupid little statement, sorry.'

He yelled: 'Why should we read government statements if they can't be bothered to come on the show? No, not happening. Not happening, not on my watch.'

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Care minister Helen Whately provoked a debate on the programme after saying undergraduates who worked on the frontlines were not 'deemed to be providing a service' in a letter to a paediatric student.

Whately was then accused by GMB presenters of 'devaluing' their contribution.

The government had refused to put a minister on the programme for more than nine weeks after ministers including Whately and health secretary Matt Hancock were given a rough ride over the handling of coronavirus.

More than 221 viewers have now complained to television watchdog Ofcom about the actions of the presenter.

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