Emily Maitlis’s Cummings grandstanding sparks complaints

Emily Maitlis's Cummings grandstanding sparks complaints
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Emily Maitlis opened Newsnight last night with a monologue in which she declared that Dominic Cummings broke the rules and the country shocked that the government cannot see this:

'Good evening, Dominic Cummings broke the rules. The country can see that and it’s shocked the Government cannot. The longer minister and the 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 presume they can now flout them. 

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.' 

Her speech has gone down well with Labour MPs like David Lammy, who called it 'public service broadcasting', and commentators such as Owen Jones who says the speech 'isn't biased against the government'. But Mr S can't help but wonder whether it's really Maitlis's job to editorialise, or whether it might be better to let the facts do the talking in future. 

It seems Mr S isn't the only one. A clipped version of the speech was deleted from the BBC's politics Twitter feed, which suggests that some at the BBC might be questioning how Maitlis's contribution fits into the corporation's impartiality remit. The BBC has also taken the surprising step of setting up a page on its website for people to be updated on the flood of complaints received as a result of the clip...

Update: the BBC have reviewed Maitlis's introduction and found 'that it did not meet our standards of due impartiality'.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to

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