Watch: 'Gleeful' BBC presenter describes 'very exciting' race for No 10
BBC News presenter Martine Croxall has reportedly been taken off air following a potential breach of impartiality during Sunday night’s edition of The Papers.
During her introduction to the programme, which started at 10.30pm on Sunday around 90 minutes after Boris Johnson dramatically pulled out of the Tory leadership race, Croxall said: “Well, this is all very exciting isn’t it?” adding: “Am I allowed to be this gleeful? Well I am.”
In her first question to her guests she also remarked: “Can we even show you the front pages just yet, have they arrived? No they haven’t arrived. It’s all a little bit, you know, lastminute.com isn’t it? Because all the front pages were probably out of date by the time we received them.”
Some viewers, including Tory MPs reacting to a clip on social media, complained it displayed bias.
However, others pointed out that Croxall did not refer to Johnson explicitly when opening the show and her excitement appeared to be referring to the fast-moving nature of the breaking news.
According to the PA news agency, Croxall has since been taken off air.
Later in the programme, Croxall also laughed at a quip by one of her guests, parliamentary journalist Tony Grew, who said Johnson probably thought he was best placed to win the US election in 2024.
Croxall said: "I shouldn't probably (laugh). I'm probably breaking some sort of terrible due impartiality rule by giggling."
A statement from the broadcaster said: “BBC News is urgently reviewing last night’s edition of The Papers on the News Channel for a potential breach of impartiality.
“It is imperative that we maintain the highest editorial standards. We have processes in place to uphold our standards, and these processes have been activated.”
A clip of Croxall's initial comments was shared to Twitter, at which point she was criticised by a number of people, including Neil O'Brien, the Conservative MP for Harborough, who wrote: "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!"
Former minister Nadine Dorries said: "The BBC is a public service broadcaster paid for by the general public who overwhelmingly voted for a Conservative government. This lack of impartiality demonstrates how deep seated the bias is."
Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph columnist and former adviser to Theresa May, tweeted: "Whatever you think of Johnson, if you care about the BBC you cannot think this is in any way acceptable from one of its presenters."
Other high-profile, right-wing figures also criticised Croxall. Richard Tice, leader of the Reform Party, tweeted: "This BBC News presenter breached the line of impartiality massively. Wholly unacceptable."
Yahoo News UK has approached the BBC for comment.
Watch: Boris Johnson pulls out of race for 10 Downing Street