An internal investigation launched by the BBC has found that news presenter Martine Croxall did breach the broadcaster’s strict code of impartiality during a 23 October broadcast.
Croxall was taken off air after her “gleeful” reaction to the news that Boris Johnson was pulling out of the Conservative leadership race.
Her “remarks and reactions... caused a significant risk the audience could believe opinions were being expressed on the Conservative leadership contest,” the broadcaster said, stipulating that Croxall would return to her post on BBC News on Friday (4 November).
During The Papers segment of the offending broadcast, when presenters analyse the UK national newspapers, Croxall said it was “all very exciting” and asked if she was allowed to “be this gleeful” as front pages were rapidly rewritten to reflect Johnson yielding to Rishi Sunak.
“This edition of The Papers did not meet our editorial standards, as it gave the audience the opportunity to infer an editorial position on the part of the BBC. This does not accord with the BBC's commitment to editorial impartiality,” the BBC said.
During the show, Croxall herself acknowledged that she might be breaking the BBC’s code, saying: “I shouldn’t probably [laugh].
“I’m probably breaking some terrible due impartiality rule by giggling.”
After the feature aired, many viewers expressed their dismay on social media.
Conservative MP Neil O'Brien tweeted: “Aaaaargh. The BBC is supposed to be one bulwark against the slide into a US-style new media cesspit - it is so self destructive for them to do this. Aaargh!”