Back in February, Maitlis retweeted a message from Morgan which read: “If failing to quarantine properly is punishable by 10yrs in prison, what is the punishment for failing to properly protect the country from a pandemic?”
Although the Newsnight host removed the retweet from her personal page within 10 minutes, one member of the public still complained to the BBC about the matter, suggesting it went against new guidelines that were introduced in October 2020.
The BBC has now confirmed that this complaint was upheld, in a post on their Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) website.
They said: “The retweeted material was clearly controversial, implying sharp criticism of the government, and there was nothing in the surrounding context to make clear that Ms Maitlis was not endorsing it or to draw attention to alternative views.
“Ms Maitlis deleted the retweet from her account within 10 minutes of its appearance but, in the absence of a public acknowledgement that it had been out of keeping with the BBC’s editorial standards, this did not seem to the ECU sufficient to resolve the issue of complaint.”
It was also noted that the “finding was reported to the Board of BBC News and discussed with Ms Maitlis”.
Responding to the ECU’s decision, Piers tweeted on Monday morning: “This is quite incredible. The Govt has admitted we failed to properly prepare for this pandemic.
“It’s not a partisan comment, it’s a statement of fact supported by the worst death toll in Europe. Why is the BBC so utterly spineless?”
Last year, the BBC ruled that Emily Maitlis had breached their impartiality guidelines with a monologue she delivered about Dominic Cummings at the beginning of an episode of Newsnight.
Morgan defended Maitlis over this at the time, suggesting she’d been thrown “under the bus” by her employers.