Jeremy Bowen tells Piers Morgan that Emily Maitlis 'crossed a line' in 'Newsnight' controversy
Watch: Jeremy Bowen feels Emily Maitlis 'crossed a line' with Dominic Cummings comments
Jeremy Bowen has said he feels his former BBC colleague Emily Maitlis "crossed a line" in comments she made on Newsnight about Dominic Cummings breaking COVID lockdown rules.
The veteran broadcaster appeared as a guest on TalkTV show Piers Morgan Uncensored on Wednesday evening, where he addressed the controversy that was discussed by BBC director general Tim Davie at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) on Tuesday.
Read more: RMT boss Mick Lynch joins Have I Got News For You panel
Maitlis had opened a 2020 episode of Newsnight by saying Dominic Cummings, then Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, had “broken the rules” with a lockdown trip to Durham and “the country can see that, and it’s shocked the Government cannot”.
Asked by Morgan whether he felt Maitlis had crossed a line with her comments, Bowen replied: "Yes, I did actually. I think it wouldn’t have taken a great deal for her to stay on the right side of the line because you cannot say, ‘We all think that’, effectively is what she was saying because actually some people didn’t think that.
"I think if she had written it a little bit more cleverly. If she had said, ‘Everybody is talking about this, this is what people are saying, some of you out there may disagree, but the country’s up in arms about Dominic Cummings’. I think a lot of people were. But it was the way she said it and in the context she said it.
Read more: Camilla has filmed Antiques Roadshow episode at the Eden Project
"Doing a kind of soliloquy at the top of a big time BBC news programme wasn’t considered appropriate. And I think it was appropriate for the bosses to have a word with her after that. She didn’t like it clearly, and now she has another job."
Maitlis, 52, joined the BBC in 2001 and presented Newsnight from 2006 until earlier this year when she left the broadcaster for rival media group Global.
Last month she delivered the MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival where she criticised the BBC’s response to the controversy, saying the BBC “sought to pacify” Number 10 by issuing a swift apology for her monologue and she said she also felt her introduction received “way more attention than in truth it ever deserved”.
Davie told the DCMS Committee on Tuesday that while he thinks she is an “outstanding journalist”, he disagrees on her criticism of the BBC’s handling of the Cummings monologue.
Watch: Jeremy Kyle awkwardly interrupts Bill Bailey's tribute to Sean Lock