Piers Morgan defends Fiona Bruce over Refuge sacking following Stanley Johnson comments

Refuge has accepted Bruce's offer to stand down as an ambassador for the domestic violence charity after she intervened in a discussion about Stanley Johnson.

Piers Morgan on TalkTV. (TalkTV)
Piers Morgan has blasted domestic violence charity Refuge for parting ways with Fiona Bruce. (TalkTV)

Piers Morgan has called domestic violence charity Refuge "cowardly" for sacking Fiona Bruce as ambassador in the wake of her comments about Stanley Johnson.

The BBC Question Time host came under fire after she intervened during a discussion in which Johnson was called a "wife-beater" to relay claims from friends of Johnson that it was a “one-off” incident.

Refuge has now announced that it has accepted Bruce's offer to stand down as an ambassador for the charity.

Morgan tweeted: "What a shameful cowardly way to treat someone who did so much to promote your charity. Fiona Bruce is a thoroughly decent woman who deserves more than being tossed to the virtue-signalling wolves over something she was directed to say in the heat of live TV."

Read more: Labour MP accuses Fiona Bruce of 'trivialising' Stanley Johnson 'wife-beater' claims

Bruce was accused of trivialising violence against women when she was legally obliged to make a statement following a discussion surrounding allegations, first reported in 2020, that Johnson broke his wife’s nose in the 1970s.

Fiona Bruce hosts BBC Question Time
Fiona Bruce made the statement on Question Time out of legal obligation to the BBC> (BBC)

A BBC spokesperson said in a statement to Yahoo News UK that Bruce was not expressing a personal opinion.

Watch: Susanna Reid defends Fiona Bruce over Stanley Johnson comments

"It is the job of BBC presenters to ensure that the context of those allegations... is given to the audience, and this is what Fiona was doing last night."

Following the programme Refuge said in a statement: "Refuge’s position is clear – domestic abuse is never a ‘one off’, it is a pattern of behaviour that can manifest in a number of ways, including physical abuse. Domestic abuse is never acceptable.

"We have spoken to Fiona today, and she is appalled that any of her words have been understood as her minimising domestic violence. We know she is deeply upset that this has been triggering for survivors.

Stanley Johnson, father of Boris Johnson, leaves the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in Westminster following announcement of the result of the Conservative Party leadership contest on 23 July, 2019 in London, England. Boris Johnson will become the UK's new prime minister on Wednesday evening after Theresa May attends her final PMQs and visits the Queen to officially resign her position. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Stanley Johnson is alleged to have broken his wife's nose in the 1970s. (Getty Images)

"Fiona is deeply sorry that last night’s programme has distressed survivors of domestic abuse. Refuge stands by her and all survivors today."

But it has since announced her departure from the organisation, stating: "While we know the words were not Fiona’s own and were words she was legally obliged to read out, this does not lessen their impact and we cannot lose sight of that.

"These words minimised the seriousness of domestic abuse and this has been retraumatising for survivors.

Read more: Susanna Reid and Ed Balls defend Fiona Bruce over Question Time row

"We have accepted Fiona’s offer to stand down from her role as Ambassador for Refuge. We have thanked her for her considerable contribution over many years to Refuge and the wider domestic abuse agenda."

Watch: Fiona Bruce staps back from Refuge role