BBC’s Emily Maitlis: I was not replaced on Newsnight because of Cummings row

The veteran Newsnight presenter insisted that she was not replaced on yesterday’s show after complaints about her coverage of the Dominic Cummings saga on Tuesday.

The BBC’s Emily Maitlis has said that she did not present Newsnight on Wednesday evening because she “asked for the night off”.

Her statement comes after claims that producers had decided to replace her after controversy surrounding the introduction she gave on Tuesday’s episode, which the BBC later said did not meet its impartiality standards.

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Katie Razzall, Newsnight’s UK editor, stood in for Maitlis on Wednesday night.

In a tweet, Ms Maitlis explained to followers: “So grateful to my friend and excellent colleague [Katie Razzall] for stepping in this evening.

“She did so because I asked for the night off - knowing tonight’s prog (sic) would be in the most excellent hands.”

In her opening on Tuesday, the 49-year-old addressed the ongoing row over the conduct of Dominic Cummings, who is widely reported to have ignored several lockdown restrictions last month.

“Good evening,” she began, “Dominic Cummings broke the rules. The whole country can see that, and it is shocked that the government cannot.

The veteran Newsnight presenter insisted that she was not replaced on yesterday’s show after complaints about her coverage of the Dominic Cummings saga on Tuesday. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

“The longer ministers, and Prime Minister, tell us he worked within them, the more angry the response to this scandal is likely to be.

“He was the man, remember, who always ‘got’ the public mood, who tagged the lazy label of ‘elite’ on those who disagreed. He should understand that public mood now. One of fury, contempt, and anguish.

“He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools. And has allowed many more to assume they can now flout them.

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“The Prime Minister knows all this, but despite the resignation of one minister, growing unease from his backbenchers, a dramatic early warning from the polls, and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it.

The BBC’s Emily Maitlis has said that she did not present Newsnight on Wednesday evening because she “asked for the night off”. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

“Tonight we consider what this blind loyalty tells us about the inner workings of Number 10. We do not expect to be joined by a government minister, but that won’t stop us asking the questions,” she concluded.

In a statement on Wednesday, the BBC said it had "reviewed the entirety of last night's Newsnight, including the opening section".

"While we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism, we feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme.

"As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality,” it finished.

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