Petition to sack Kay Burley following Alton Towers interview passes 50,000 signatures

The petition has gained almost an additional 10,000 signatures in a day

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The Independent Online

A petition calling for the sacking of Sky News journalist Kay Burley has gathered more than 53,000 signatures.

The petition follows around 1,100 complaints submitted to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom over Burley's confrontational interview with Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainment, the company that owns Alton Towers.

Burley grilled Varney on Sky News over the safety of the park's attractions, after four people were seriously injured on the Smiler rollercoaster last week.

She told him she was "sure [the families of the injured] are not interested in your sympathy at this stage" after he apologised for the accident.

The petition says Burley was "rude and patronising" to the CEO during the interview. Gareth Pugh, the person who started the petition, calls on Sky News to "act professional" and "issue an apology and sack Kay Burley."

17-year-old Leah Washington has had her left leg amputated above the knee due to injuries she sustained during the crash.

The petiton is gaining signatures rapidly, with another 7,000 names added over Saturday night.

By Sunday afternoon, the petition had 53,477 signatures, a huge increase on the 43,000 signatures that it had on Saturday afternoon.

Some have defended Burley over the recent criticism, claiming her confrontational interviewing style was appropriate for the time. Some said that other famous broadcasters, like Jeremy Paxman, would be praised for taking a hard line on someone responsible for a place where a serious accident occurred.

However, others have responded to these claims, saying the complaints are down to Burley's "bullying" and perceived lack of impartiality.