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April 28, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:13am

Ofcom clears Piers Morgan over ‘combative’ GMB interviews with ministers

By PA Mediapoint

Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan has been cleared by TV watchdog Ofcom for his “combative” interviews with government ministers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Morgan attracted more than 3,000 complaints from two interviews with care minister Helen Whately earlier this month.

Almost 600 viewers also complained about another interview with Health Secretary Matt Hancock on 16 April.

In a statement, Ofcom said Morgan is “well-known for his combative interviewing style” and viewers would expect him to challenge senior politicians.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: “We assessed a number of complaints about Piers Morgan‘s conduct while interviewing politicians about the UK’s response to the coronavirus public health crisis.

“Piers Morgan is well-known for his combative interviewing style and viewers would expect him to challenge senior politicians and hold them to account.

“His guests were given adequate opportunity to put their points across and counter the presenter’s criticisms.

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“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.”

Responding to the news, Morgan wrote on Instagram: “Thank you to everyone that supported me.”

Ofcom said it received 1,981 complaints following Morgan’s interview with Whately on 15 April.

A further 1,246 complaints were made following the minister’s Good Morning Britain appearance one week later.

Morgan defended the first interview, saying it was not as “uncomfortable” as the conditions for the carers on the front line of the coronavirus crisis.

During an animated interview, he asked Whately for the number of health workers and care workers who had died from the illness.

She accused him of “shouting at me and not giving me a chance to answer your questions” and “attempting to score points”.

Some viewers accused Morgan of “bullying” the politician while others praised him for “demanding answers”.

During Hancock’s appearance on Good Morning Britain, the minister accused Morgan of constantly interrupting him.

Ofcom said it received a further 266 complaints over seven of Morgan’s political interviews during April.

Earlier this month Ofcom warned ITV that relying on a “combative dynamic” between Morgan and GMB co-host Susanna Reid could prove risky in its compliance with the Broadcasting Code.

Picture: ITV

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