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Richard Madeley apologises for asking British-Palestinian MP if she knew about Hamas attack plan

‘Was there any word on the street?’ host asks Lib Dems’ Layla Moran

Adam Forrest
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 17 October 2023 15:19 BST
Richard Madeley asks British-Palestinian MP if family knew Hamas attack was imminent

ITV presenter Richard Madeley is facing calls to be taken off air after he asked a senior Liberal Democrat MP if she knew Hamas was planning to kill innocent Israelis.

The Good Morning Britain host was accused of “appalling” behaviour by asking Layla Moran – who is of Palestinian descent – if she was aware in advance of the terrorist attack which saw more than 1,400 murdered.

The Lib Dems’ foreign affairs spokesperson had told the Commons about the bombing of her own relatives’ home in Gaza as she shared her “profound emotions of loss and grief” with the Jewish community.

But Mr Madeley asked her: “With your family connections in Gaza, did you have any indication of what was going to happen 10 days ago … was there any word on the street?”

Taken aback, the senior Lib Dem politician replied: “Not this, not this. Everyone, everyone has been surprised first of all by the timing and sophistication and they way that it’s happened.”

Ms Moran added: “I don’t believe it is right that my family is being held accountable for what Hamas is done. It is a choice to turn off the water and the electricity and the way that has happened – I don’t believe that is right.”

Issuing an apology following widespread outrage, a Good Morning Britain spokesperson said: “Richard is sorry that he has upset viewers with his question to Layla Moran.”

They added: “His intention was to understand the mood and atmosphere amongst the civilian population of Gaza immediately before the attacks … He did not mean to imply that she or her family might have had any prior knowledge of the attacks.”

Liberal Democrats’ foreign affairs spokesperson Layla Moran (PA Archive)

Condemnation for Mr Madeley was swift – with some demanding the host to be removed from GMB hosting duties. Liz Jarvis, the Lib Dem candidate for Eastleigh, said Ms Moran had “handled this situation with remarkable composure and dignity but Richard Madeley should apologise or be taken off air”.

Ash Sarkar, the left-wing commentor and Novara Media editor, accused Mr Madeley of racism. “This is no different from asking British Jews if they have any special warning about settlers attacking Palestinians. Outright racism from Richard Madeley,” she tweeted on X.

Political commentator Jonathan Lis, deputy director of the British Influence think tank, called Mr Madeley “Newsnight Alan Partridge” and also accused him of racism.

He said the host had casually asked a British MP with Palestinian heritage “whether her ‘family connections’ gave her advance warning of Hamas’s massacre. Call this what it is: racism. He should unreservedly apologise or be taken off air.”

SNP activist Olaf Stando said Mr Madeley was “so obscenely stupid and crass that he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near this topic”.

“Let’s repeat: all Jewish people aren’t accountable for the Israeli government’s actions, and all Palestinians aren’t accountable for Hamas actions.”

Political and economic commentator Frances Coppola added: “This is an outrageous question. Madeley should be ashamed of himself.”

Ms Moran spoked about the struggles of her own relatives in the Commons on Monday, as Rishi Sunak made a statement about the six Britons killed and 10 missing in Israel.

“My immediate family is in the West Bank – but we have extended family in Gaza city,” she revealed. “Their house was bombed by the IDF, they went to seek sanctuary in a church because we are Christian Palestinians … They say to me they have nowhere to go.”

Ms Moran said she shared “profound emotions of loss and grief” with the Jewish community, before calling on Rishi Sunak to help work toward “a Palestinian state to call our own at the end of it”.

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