John Humphrys quits Today with swipe at Johnson and Corbyn for avoiding the show

John Humphrys leaves New Broadcasting House after presenting his final show on the Today programme. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire.

John Humphrys leaves New Broadcasting House after presenting his final show on the Today programme. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Veteran BBC broadcaster John Humphrys has quit Radio 4's Today programme with a snub towards politicians like Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn who have avoided the programme.

The Today presenter bowed out of the early morning BBC Radio 4 programme after 32 years and 5,000 programmes.

Humphrys, 76, who has been accused of "poisoning the well of democratic debate" over the years, thanked the people he has interviewed on the flagship Radio 4 show.

In a swipe at the present party political leaders on the programme he said Boris Johnson had not been on the show since he entered Number 10 and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had stayed away for nearly three years.

"Increasingly, politicians are talking directly to the people via social media so they can choose the questions they answer without being challenged," Humphrys said.


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Later as he signed off for the final time, Humphrys said "thanks" to everyone he had interviewed, "including the politicians, or at least those of them, the vast majority, who still recognise it is important that people in power should be held to account, even if just occasionally we might give them a hard time".

The BBC is not recruiting a replacement for Humphrys, with Justin Webb, Mishal Husain, Martha Kearney and Nick Robinson filling in his shifts.

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Humphrys, who was accused by Jonathan Aitken of "poisoning the well of democratic debate" before the ex-Tory MP was jailed in 1999 for perjury and perverting the course of justice, said: "I am going to have no influence or no power over it (the programme). It's an awful, terrible feeling."

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