Holly Willoughby has ‘questions to answer’, Nadine Dorries claims amid Phillip Schofield scandal

Nadine Dorries has called for an investigation into the Phillip Schofield scandal, after the former This Morning presenter admitted to having an affair with a younger colleague.

The former culture secretary also said that Holly Willoughby has “questions to answer” over how the employee came to be hired by ITV.

Last week Schofield, 61, issued a lengthy statement in which he apologised for lying to ITV, his colleagues, co-host Willoughby, and his wife, over the nature of his relationship with the unnamed employee.

In the statement, Schofield said he had an “unwise” but “not illegal” relationship with a colleague who worked on This Morning.

An ITV spokesperson said the channel felt “badly let down” by Schofield and accepted his resignation from the broadcaster.

Meanwhile, his former co-host Willoughby said it had been “very hurtful” to learn he lied to her, after she apparently asked him directly if rumours of his affair were true.

Ms Dorries, speaking to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, said: “The fact that [Schofield] has made a rather grovelling apology to the Daily Mail in the form of an email... There seems to be this understanding that that’s it now and everything will move on and that’s not the case I’m afraid.”

“What it actually does is open up more questions as to what happened,” she continued. “We know that there were complaints lodged to ITV over a long period of time. What happened to those complaints? I think the editor of the programme, Martin Frizell, has some questions to answer himself.”

She added: “And I’m afraid so does Holly Willoughby. How did that young boy, so young, get a job at ITV? What were the processes involved? What was the safeguarding in place for someone so young at that age? What contact was first made? Who contacted who?”

Holly Willoughby says Phillip Schofield denied to her having a relationship with a younger ITV colleague (PA Wire)
Holly Willoughby says Phillip Schofield denied to her having a relationship with a younger ITV colleague (PA Wire)

According to the latest report by The Mail on Sunday, Schofield’s former colleague was allegedly just 15 when they met at a talk the TV presenter was giving at a theatre school, while Schofield was in his late forties.

The teenager apparently asked him about job prospects, and Schofield later arranged an interview for him with the broadcaster, which then hired him as a production assistant when he turned 18.

By this point, Schofield was in his early fifties. In his statement, he said that what was initially a friendship turned into “more” after the teenager began working on the show.

“That relationship was unwise, but not illegal,” he said. “It is now over.”

Lawyers representing Schofield confirmed to the Evening Standard that he met the boy when he was 15, but said that the affair began when he started working at ITV, after he turned 18.

The Independent has contacted ITV and Willoughby’s representative, and reached out to Schofield for comment.

Schofield’s statement denied any knowledge of an “injunction, super or otherwise”, that might have prevented his affair being made public. He also denied having any involvement in the colleague leaving the show to work on other ITV projects.

An ITV spokesperson confirmed this week that the broadcaster investigated in early 2020 after “rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate”.

“Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours, as did Phillip’s then-agency YMU,” the spokesperson said.

YMU confirmed that it had dropped Schofield as a client after he admitted lying about the affair.