However, Holmes, who previously called the pair “actors”, has questioned Schofield’s wording. In the statement, he said: “ITV has decided the current situation can’t go on, and I want to do what I can to protect the show that I love.”
Holmes believes the presenter “was sacked”.
Speaking on his GB News breakfast show, Holmes said: “Oh please, just stop this. He was sacked. All this nonsense of ‘I’ve decided to step down’. I’m sure you did – ‘here’s your P45 now step down’.”
Schofield’s statement read: “Throughout my career in TV – including the very difficult last few days – I have always done my best to be honourable and kind. So I have agreed to step down from This Morning with immediate effect, in the hope that the show can move forward to a bright future.”
An ITV spokesperson told The Independent: “Phillip Schofield’s decision to step down from This Morning was (as his statement made clear) a decision agreed between Phillip and ITV. “
The Independent has contacted Schofield for additional comment.
The former This Morning host then criticised Willoughby over her claim she was “sad” Schofield was departing the show,
He said: “Well, she wanted him not there, so what is she moaning about? Holly is being as false as he is and nobody is talking about the elephant in the room.”
Mimicking the TV star, he said: “Oh, the couch will not be the same without him being there.”
Holmes then said: “They deserve each other. She says ‘I thank him for all his knowledge, experience and humour’ All the things that she didn’t have when she came to the show. Well, it’s true. I would call that stabbing in the back. I could give you a list of the lack of kindness and lack of awareness from both of them.”
The Independent has contacted Willoughby’s representatives for comment. In her statement addressing Schofield’s departure, the presenter said: “It’s been over 13 great years presenting This Morning with Phil and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his knowledge, his experience and his humour. The sofa won’t feel the same without him.”
Schofield has left This Morning after more than 20 years with immediate effect, meaning his departure unceremoniously occurred at the end of Thursday’s episode (18 May).
Willoughby is taking a break from the show, and Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary, who usually present the Friday episode, will temporarily step in as the main hosts.
When Willoughby returns, she will be joined by a member of “the This Morning family” until Schofield’s full-time replacement is decided.