BBC journalist Emily Maitlis has cleared up reports that she was asked to take time off from her role on Newsnight following an impartiality breach.
The BBC said her introduction to Tuesday night’s episode, which appeared to be a scathing condemnation of Dominic Cummings and the government’s loyalty to him, “did not meet our standards of due impartiality”.
It was later revealed that she would not be hosting the show on Wednesday, prompting outrage from some Twitter users who had thought she may have been forced to take a night off as a consequence.
However, Maitlis herself has said that this is untrue, telling her followers that she had chosen to take the night off, knowing the programme would be in “excellent hands” with her colleague and Newsnight’s UK editor Katie Razzall.
Razzall added that she “certainly wouldn’t have agreed to present the show” had Maitlis been removed from the episode against her will.
So grateful to my friend and excellent colleague @katierazz for stepping in this evening . She did so because I asked for the night off -knowing tonight’s prog would be in the most excellent hands ???? #newsnight https://t.co/0ZkH2KbzBF
— emily m (@maitlis) May 28, 2020
Newsnight’s editor Esme Wrenn and deputy editor Stewart Maclean also took to Twitter to back up this story.
Among the comments spoken in the controversial opening statement, Maitlis said: “Dominic Cummings broke the rules, the country can see that, and it’s shocked the government cannot. The longer ministers and the prime minister tell us he worked with them, the more angry the response to this scandal is likely to be.
She continued: “He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools, and has allowed many more to feel like they can flout them. The prime minister knows all this, and despite the resignation of one minister, growing unease from his backbenchers, a dramatic early warning from the polls, and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it.”
The BBC released this statement the following afternoon:
BBC statement on last night's Newsnight pic.twitter.com/JFm4Nt5YMv
— BBC News Press Team (@BBCNewsPR) May 27, 2020
Newsnight airs every weeknight on BBC Two at 10:45pm. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.