Piers Morgan: Ofcom clears presenter over 'combative' interviews

  • Published
Piers Morgan and Helen Whately on Good Morning Britain on 15 AprilImage source, ITV/Shutterstock
Image caption,
Morgan said the care minister's appearance on 15 April was "a trainwreck"

Piers Morgan will not be investigated by the media regulator for "combative" interviews with government ministers that sparked 4,000 complaints.

More than 3,200 of the complaints about the Good Morning Britain host related to two interviews with Care Minister Helen Whately earlier this month.

A further 600 were about an interview with Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Ofcom said "viewers would expect him to challenge senior politicians and hold them to account".

The ITV host is "well known for his combative interviewing style", the watchdog said.

Freedom of expression

"His guests were given adequate opportunity to put their points across and counter the presenter's criticisms," a statement said.

"In Ofcom's view, in line with freedom of expression, it is clearly in the public interest that broadcasters are able to hold those making political decisions to account, particularly during a major national crisis, such as the coronavirus pandemic."

Ofcom received 1,981 complaints about Morgan's interview with Ms Whately on 15 April, when he repeatedly pressed her about how many care home residents had died of coronavirus, why politicians had been tested when care workers had not, and how many health workers had died.

She accused him of "shouting at me and not giving me a chance to answer your questions" and "attempting to score points".


There were 1,246 more complaints after she returned to the programme a week later, when he accused her of misleading people and questioned her about the government's testing and the number of care home deaths.

"You've come back on this programme after what many thought was a trainwreck interview last week because you didn't know these numbers, and you still don't know," he told her.

She claimed he was being "unreasonable" and that "the problem is you keep on interrupting".

Afterwards, Morgan asked Twitter users who liked his interview style to also contact Ofcom.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

That led the regulator to say it was "struggling to keep up" with the responses and asked him to "go easy on the mentions".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Ofcom could not confirm how many people had got in touch in support of Morgan.

When Mr Hancock appeared on 16 April, Morgan said the health secretary's "resolute refusal to concede that you've made any mistakes grates with me".

Mr Hancock accused the host of repeatedly interrupting him. "I will answer these questions and if you interrupt me again I will just keep talking, so don't, thank you," the health secretary told him.

The regulator received a further 266 complaints about seven other interviews Morgan conducted with political figures in April.

ITV and the Department of Health and Social Care declined to comment on Ofcom's decision.

Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.