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Earlier this week, the corporation ruled that the current affairs show breached its impartiality guidelines after Emily opened Tuesday’s programme by saying that the prime minister’s aide had “broken the rules” amid controversy about his 260-mile lockdown trip to his parents’ house in Durham.
An official investigation by Durham Police has now said Cummings could have been guilty of a “a minor breach” of the coronavirus lockdown rules when he visited Barnard Castle with his wife and son to test his “eyesight”. However, they added that no further action would be taken.
Following the development, many have called for the BBC to retract its statement, which ruled that Emily’s opening monologue “did not meet our standards of due impartiality” adding that staff had “been reminded of the guidelines”.
Does the BBC have to revise its Maitlis ruling now?! https://t.co/n5J3K8Htkd— Krishnan Guru-Murthy (@krishgm) May 28, 2020
Maybe an apology from BBC to Emily Maitlis is due, now the police have confirmed Dominic Cummings did breach lockdown rules - validating the report on newsnight? https://t.co/6LIS63qkON— Joseph Elliott (@J_Elliott94) May 28, 2020
Oi @BBC - The police report from Durham only further confirms that Emily Maitlis was factually correct, a public apology and begging for her forgiveness is your only course of redemption you absolute boot-lickers.— | ℝ𝕪𝕒𝕟 'Locke-down' (@Loakers) May 28, 2020
Now @BBC, can you answer this for me: why was Emily Maitlis reprimanded for saying exactly what is in this report? Should the police be disciplined for breaking impartiality rules? Or are you just afraid of those you support being held accountable for their unjustifiable actions? https://t.co/vNf8CKPD29— Daniel McCancelled (@don_mc21) May 28, 2020
Is the BBC going to retract the statement and apologise to Emily Maitlis in the light of the Durham Police finding Dominic Cummings DID break the rules?— John Holder (@JohnHolder21) May 28, 2020
Durham Police have confirmed Dominic Cummings WAS GUILTY! Hope Boris continues to defend and keep him around - let the Tory meltdown continue. Also, the BBC owe Emily Maitlis a massive apology! #DominicCummnings #maitlis #cummingsguilty #BorisTheLiar— Paul (@itspaulactually) May 28, 2020
The BBC’s decision to publicly reprimand Emily and the show sparked criticism, most notably from Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan, who said the corporation was “chucking one of its best journalists under the bus for telling the truth”.
His words were echoed by journalist and former Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason, who said the decision made him “sick”.
As an ex-colleague of the Newsnight team this makes me sick. The BBC editorial management is stuffed full of establishment types who turned a blind eye to bias in favour of May and Johnson. Every word Mailtis said was true: truth is the criterion of real journalism. https://t.co/ABKHZLbUTC— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) May 27, 2020
The National Union of Journalists also criticised the BBC over its handling of the row, with general secretary Michelle Stanistreet saying: “At a time of national crisis, frank and fearless journalism that scrutinises and holds this Government to account is more necessary than ever.”
Emily did not front Wednesday night’s broadcast as expected, after the BBC published their statement, leading many to wrongly conclude she’d been temporarily stood down.
She later tweeted that she’d “asked for the night off” and thanked fans for their support.
So grateful to my friend and excellent colleague @katierazz for stepping in this evening . She did so because I asked for the night off -knowing tonight’s prog would be in the most excellent hands 🖐 #newsnight https://t.co/0ZkH2KbzBF— emily m (@maitlis) May 28, 2020
In her introduction to Tuesday’s show, Emily said “Dominic Cummings broke the rules. The country can see that, and it’s shocked the government cannot.
“The longer ministers and the prime minister tell us he worked within them, the more angry the response to this scandal is likely to be.”
She added: “He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools, and has allowed many more to assume they can now flout them.”
In response to Durham Police’s findings, a No 10 spokesperson said: “The police have made clear they are taking no action against Mr Cummings over his self-isolation and that going to Durham did not breach the regulations.
“The prime minister has said he believes Mr Cummings behaved reasonably and legally given all the circumstances and he regards this issue as closed.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.