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November 4, 2022updated 14 Nov 2022 5:23am

‘Gleeful’ BBC News presenter Martine Croxall breached impartiality standards with Boris Johnson comments, broadcaster rules

By PA Media

Update 4 November:

The BBC has ruled that “several remarks and reactions” made by presenter Martine Croxall about Boris Johnson caused a “significant risk” that the audience could believe “opinions were being expressed” on the Conservative leadership contest.

After reviewing viewer complaints, the BBC said in a statement: “In addition, there was insufficient counter and challenge to some of the opinions expressed by guests on the programme.

“Taken together, this meant that this edition of The Papers did not meet our editorial standards, as it gave the audience the opportunity to infer an editorial position on the part of the BBC.”

It added: “This does not accord with the BBC’s commitment to editorial impartiality.”

Croxall will be back on air from Friday (4 November) and internal processes have been undertaken to ensure editorial requirements are fully understood, PA understands.

Original story 24 October:

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BBC News presenter Martine Croxall has been taken off air amid claims she showed bias after Boris Johnson pulled out of the Tory leadership contest.

During her introduction to Sunday night’s edition of The Papers, in which members of the press and experts look at how the main stories of the day were covered, she said: “Well this is all very exciting, isn’t it?” adding: “Am I allowed to be this gleeful? Well I am.”

The programme started at 10.30pm on Sunday, around 90 minutes after Johnson pulled out of the Tory leadership race.

In her first question to her guests, Croxall also remarked: “Can we even show you the front pages just yet, have they arrived? No they haven’t arrived.

“It’s all a little bit, you know, lastminute.com isn’t it? Because all the front pages were probably out of date by the time we received them.”

Croxall also suggested during the programme that her comments could have breached BBC guidelines.

Responding to a guest’s joke aimed at Johnson, she said: “I shouldn’t probably [laugh]. I’m probably breaking some terrible due impartiality rule by giggling.”

Some viewers, including several Tory MPs reacting to a clip on social media, complained it displayed bias.

A statement from the broadcaster said: “BBC News is urgently reviewing last night’s edition of The Papers on the News Channel for a potential breach of impartiality.

“It is imperative that we maintain the highest editorial standards. We have processes in place to uphold our standards, and these processes have been activated.”

Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries said on Twitter: “This lack of impartiality demonstrates how deep seated the bias is.”

On Sunday evening, Johnson claimed he had the nominations needed to make it onto the ballot paper but admitted he could not unite his warring party.

The former prime minister said there was a “very good chance” he could have been back in No 10 by the end of the week if he had stood.

However his efforts to “reach out” to his rivals, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt, to work together had not been successful so he was dropping out.

Croxall’s benching comes just days after Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy was taken off air for a week for calling Conservative MP Steve Baker a “c**t” on mic.

The broadcaster said: “Channel 4 has a strict code of conduct for all its employees, including its programming teams and on-air presenters, and takes any breaches seriously.”

Picture: BBC News screenshot

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