Phillip Schofield has been accused of bullying a co-presenter by Nadine Dorries, as the former Culture Secretary called on ITV for an investigation.
The television presenter, 61, resigned from the broadcaster on Friday and was dropped by his talent agency after confessing to having an “unwise, but not illegal” relationship with a younger male colleague who worked on the programme.
Ms Dorries has now said his resignation and apology has raised more questions that need to be answered, as she raised concerns about how he treated his colleagues, in particular Josie Gibson a TV presenter with This Morning, who has not responded to a request for comment.
When asked how she found being interviewed by Mr Schofield during a previous appearance on This Morning, she told Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg: “I just found him to be quite bullying in his attitude towards the co-host who was standing in for Holly Willoughby. That made me feel more uncomfortable than answering questions.”
Ms Dorries, who now hosts her own TalkTV chat show, claimed that when the camera was pointed at her Mr Schofield “started aggressively jabbing at the script with his hands and the pages were rattling and the co-host looked horrified.”
Regarding Mr Schofield’s apology, Ms Dorries said: “What it actually does is opens up more questions as to what happened. We know that there were complaints lodged with 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 that Mr Schofield’s co-presenter also needed to respond to questioning. “And I’m afraid so does Holly Willoughby,” she said.
“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?”
It comes after Ms Willoughby posted a statement on Instagram on Saturday where she said that Mr Schofield’s admission of the affair was “very hurtful” after previous denials he had given her.
In the post on Instagram, she said:
Ms Willoughby is due to be back in the studio from June 5, although it is not yet known who her co-presenter will be.
In a further twist on Sunday, This Morning's former resident doctor said the show had a “toxic culture”.
Dr Ranj, who had been a regular guest for a decade until last year, revealed that he left the show after raising allegations about the treatment of its employees.
He claimed executives chose to use him as a guest less regularly after his comments.
Dr Ranj said he had told Emma Gormley, managing director daytime of ITV Studios, about the problems, including the behaviour of This Morning editor Martin Frizell.
'Because I whistle-blew I was managed out'
In a statement posted on Instagram on Sunday night, Dr Ranj said: “I raised my concerns about Martin Frizell's behaviour (and the environment at TM) with Emma Gormley - especially given that my job is to look after people's wellbeing and I had been heavily involved in diversity, anti-bullying and mental health projects across the channel.
“I then found myself being used less and less. I even took my concerns directly to the top of ITV: the culture at This Morning has become toxic, no longer aligned with ITV values, and I felt like because I whistle-blew I was managed out.”
Dr Ranj, 43, added: "But as history and experience have taught us, things like bullying and discrimination are very hard to prove, particularly in hindsight and when the 'people in power' control the narrative. As we've seen, no review or investigation is foolproof.”
His comments came as Kevin Lygo, ITV’s Director of Television, insisted no mistakes were made in the original 2020 investigation into Schofield’s conduct.
'No errors were made'
Mr Lygo told Sky News reporters: “We made a statement today, yesterday. I think it’s all clear.”
When asked if errors were made in the 2020 investigation, he replied: “No”.
The controversy surrounding This Morning has put the show’s future in question.
However, an ITV spokesperson said: “As we said on the record yesterday (Saturday), This Morning is not under review and there’s no plans for the show to be axed. This Morning will return as normal tomorrow.”
ITV said on Saturday it had investigated “rumours of a relationship” between Mr Schofield and the ITV employee around three years ago but claimed both parties “categorically and repeatedly denied” it.
A spokesperson for ITV said the broadcaster was “not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour” when it looked into the matter in 2020.
“Phillip’s statement yesterday (Saturday) reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship”, they added.
The broadcaster also said it was “deeply disappointed” by the “admissions of deceit” by Mr Schofield after he spoke publicly about the affair.
“The relationships we have with those we work with are based on trust,” the ITV statement added. ”Phillip made assurances to us which he now acknowledges were untrue and we feel badly let down.”
Mr Schofield revealed the affair began while he was still with his wife Stephanie Lowe, in a statement published by the Daily Mail on Friday, adding he was “very, very sorry” for having been unfaithful to her.
He also apologised for lying about the relationship.
Just a day before he stepped down from This Morning, Mr Schofield’s brother Timothy, 54, was jailed for 12 years for sexually abusing a boy.
The TV presenter said “I no longer have a brother” following guilty verdicts in April.