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BBC presenter taken off air after ‘gleeful’ reaction to Boris news

BBC News: Martine Croxall asks if she’s ‘allowed to be this gleeful’

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BBC presenter Martine Croxall has reportedly been taken off air after “gleefully” reacting to the news Boris Johnson had pulled out of the Tory leadership race. During her introduction to Sunday night’s edition of The Papers – which began at 10.30pm and some 90 minutes after the former Prime Minister withdrew from the leadership race – Ms Croxall told: “Well this is all very exciting isn’t it? Am I allowed to be this gleeful? Well, I am.” But the BBC is now understood to have taken her off air for an undefined period following the controversial broadcast.

In her first question to guests appearing on the programme, Ms Croxall 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 Because all the front pages were probably out of date by the time we received them.”

Ms Croxall also later suggested herself that her comments may have broken the BBC’s strict rules.

Laughing at jibes directed towards Mr Johson, she said: “I shouldn’t probably [laugh]. I’m probably breaking some terrible due impartiality rule by giggling.”

Several viewers, including many Tory MPs, took to Twitter to react to the comments, complaining it displayed bias.

Former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries wrote: “This lack of impartiality demonstrates how deep seated the bias is.”

The BBC is now urgently looking at the comments from the presenter to determine if there has been any breach of its strict impartiality guidelines.

A spokesman 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.”

The BBC sets strict guidelines for its employees, which prohibits them from expressing any bias.

The impartiality memo to staff reads: “The BBC is committed to achieving due impartiality in all its output. This commitment is fundamental to our reputation, our values and the trust of audiences.

“The term ‘due’ means that the impartiality must be adequate and appropriate to the output, taking account of the subject and nature of the content, the likely audience expectation and any signposting that may influence that expectation.”

It makes clear that “due impartiality usually involves more than a simple matter of ‘balance’ between opposing viewpoints”.

But the rules also say: “It does not require absolute neutrality on every issue or detachment from fundamental democratic principles, such as the right to vote, freedom of expression and the rule of law.”

The controversial on-air comments came less than two hours after Mr Johnson claimed he had the required number of Tory nominations to make it onto the leadership ballot paper but admitted could not unite his party.

The former Prime Minister said claimed there was a “very good chance” he could have been in the 10 Downing Street hot seat by the end of the week if he had stood.

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