Piers Morgan has defended his “excruciating” Good Morning Britain interview with care minister Helen Whately.
The presenter repeatedly asked Whately for the number of health and care workers who have died in the UK from coronavirus and accused her of laughing in response.
Broadcasting regulator Ofcom revealed Wednesday’s interview has received more than 643 complaints.
Morgan tweeted: "Apparently some people found my interview with Care minister @Helen_Whately today 'uncomfortable'.
“For perspective, it probably wasn't quite as 'uncomfortable' as what our under-protected NHS & carer frontline heroes are going through."
He added: "One thing that's surely obvious from my excruciating @GMB exchanges with Care minister Helen Whately today is that she is completely out of her depth & should be replaced by a heavyweight minister who can better handle the mounting & devastating care home #coronavirus crisis."
In response to a tweet that he was “bullying and trying to embarrass a woman", he replied: "Ahhhh, of course... I was being sexist!
“Just for the record, I don't care what gender Govt ministers are, but I do care if they refuse to answer questions or start laughing when being asked about very serious matters."
Asked during the interview for the number of health and care workers who have died from the illness, Whately told Morgan: "Your focus on figures slightly belies the fact we are talking about individual people's lives here."
The presenter interjected: "I just asked you how many health workers and care workers have died from coronavirus on the front line; do you know the answer?"
She replied: "The latest information we have for NHS workers is that 19 NHS workers have very sadly died."
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Morgan interjected again to say the figure was "complete and utter nonsense".
While some viewers called Morgan’s confrontational interview technique “bullying”, others praised the ITV breakfast show for “holding ministers to account.”
ITV shared a clip of the interview online, where one viewer commented: "He bullied her to such an extent I turned it off. I gave you a second chance after the bullying questioning yesterday of the minister.
"If you ask a question we need to hear the answer. I don't need to hear Piers Morgan's interpretation of the answer."
Another replied: "I have complained again to Ofcom. That was a disgusting interview – the poor woman was bullied. I am disgusted the producers allowed the interview to continue. So embarrassing to watch."
However, another viewer said: "The only programme holding these ministers to account, keep up the good work."
And another replied: "Can't praise @piersmorgan enough for the way he has demanded answers to admittedly tough questions through this pandemic.
"Expecting politicians to know numbers and answer questions isn't really asking much."
A spokeswoman for Ofcom said: "We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate."
Whately also made appearances on BBC Breakfast and Sky News before the interview with Morgan on GMB.
It comes just a week after Ofcom warned ITV over Morgan’s “combative” presenting style.