Emily Maitlis returns to Newsnight with no mention of Dominic Cummings

Emily Maitlis returns to BBC Newsnight screens with no mention of the Dominic Cummings ‘biased monologue’ row that generated more than 40,000 complaints

  • Newsnight host returned for first time in six days after Dominic Cumming row
  • Presenter had been off air since a monologue sparked thousands of complaints
  • BBC bosses admitted her words had not met their ‘standards of due impartiality’
  • She failed to address the row last night as show mainly covered US race protests 

Emily Maitlis returned to Newsnight for the first time since the controversy over her comments on Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings.

The presenter was found to have violated the BBC’s impartiality guidelines following her monologue on Dominic Cummings last week.

In her introduction to Tuesday’s show, Maitlis said Mr Cummings had ‘broken the rules’ when he travelled from London to Durham during lockdown and ‘the country can see that, and it’s shocked the Government cannot’.

Emily Maitlis on last night’s Newsnight. She had been off air since her monologue last Tuesday 

She said he made the public feel ‘like fools’ and accused Boris Johnson of showing ‘blind loyalty’ towards his adviser, who had driven 260 miles from London to County Durham during lockdown.

Within 24 hours, the BBC released a statement saying the programme had not met ‘standards of due impartiality’, adding that staff had been ‘reminded of the guidelines’. 

The BBC said the monologue ‘did not meet our standards of due impartiality’.

Maitlis returned to Newsnight on last night, but did not mention the row during a show focusing on the protests that have broken out across the US in response to the death of an unarmed black man.

Ms Maitlis failed to cover the Dominic Cummings row as the show mainly featured race riots

George Floyd died after a white Minneapolis police officer held his knee on his neck for several minutes.

A former head of BBC television news blamed ‘muddled management’ and social media for the Maitlis row. 

Roger Mosey said ‘traditional restraint has been swept away in the age of social media’, with presenters encouraged to show their personalities to audiences.

Writing for the New Statesman Mr Mosey said: ‘Much of the blame sits with the BBC management, who have been woolly and contradictory in their determination of what impartiality is in a modern broadcasting environment.’

Following the controversy over Mr Cummings, Ms Maitlis did not appear as scheduled on Wednesday’s episode of Newsnight, saying she asked for the evening off. She had not been scheduled to appear for the remainder of last week.

The presenter, widely lauded for her interview with the Duke of York last year, said she has been ‘overwhelmed’ by support from viewers after her monologue on Mr Cummings.

The 49-year-old broadcaster tweeted: ‘Been overwhelmed by all the kindness, messages – and support on here – and I’ve probably missed much of it.

‘A big thank you from us all at Newsnight.’

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