Dominic Cummings: Jonathan Ross leads celebrity support for Emily Maitlis over Newsnight introduction

Stars have backed presenter after BBC ruled that her comments about senior aide breached impartiality guidelines

Emily Maitlis sums up nation's mood over Dominic Cummings in Newsnight intro

Jonathan Ross is among the celebrities who have tweeted their support for Emily Maitlis, after the BBC ruled that her comments about Dominic Cummings on Newsnight breached impartiality guidelines.

Maitlis had received praise from some viewers for her opening to the show, in which she said that Boris Johnson’s top advisor Cummings had broken the rules of lockdown and added: “The country can see that, and it’s shocked the government cannot.”

She said in a 90-second monologue: “The disease is not a great leveller, the consequences of which everyone – rich or poor – suffers the same. This is a myth which needs debunking.”

On Wednesday, the BBC said in a statement: “We’ve reviewed the entirety of last night’s Newsnight, including the opening section, and while we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism, we feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme.

“As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality.”

Tweeting about the BBC’s ruling, Ross wrote: “Impartial reporting does not mean you need to lie just because that’s the Governments current MO.”

Nigella Lawson, meanwhile, called Maitlis “the voice of sanity”.

Caitlin Moran said Maitlis’s introduction was an “accurate summation of the situation”.

Stephen Mangan added that the BBC’s statement was “wrong and craven”.

Maitlis was absent from Wednesday night's (27 May) episode of Newsnight as she asked for a night off following the BBC's ruling. It was not the decision of BBC bosses, as many had reported, for her to be temporarily replaced by Katie Razzall.

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