BBC Anchor Reportedly Suspended After Allegedly Breaching Impartiality Rules Over Boris Johnson Remarks

The BBC has reportedly suspended one of its news anchors after she was accused of breaching the broadcaster’s strict impartiality rules over comments about Boris Johnson.

Martine Croxall was hosting the Sunday edition of BBC evening show “The Papers,” which reviews the following day’s top print headlines, when she made the remarks.

“Well this is all very exciting isn’t it,” were Croxall’s first words as she opened the program. “Hello and welcome to our look ahead to what the papers will be bringing us tomorrow. Am I allowed to be this gleeful? Well I am.”

“Can we even show you the front pages just yet, have they arrived? No, they haven’t arrived,” she continued after introducing her two guests, both newspaper journalists. “It’s all a little bit, you know, isn’t it? Because all the front pages were probably out of date by the time we received them.”

Referring to a stack of photocopies of the front pages from Britain’s leading newspapers sat on the desk in front of her, Croxall said: “They’re still warm off my printer.”

The show, which is live, aired about 90 minutes after ousted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who resigned in July after one scandal too many, confirmed he would not stand for the position of party leader following the resignation of his successor Liz Truss, who lasted 44 days in office.

Although Croxall did not explain to viewers why she was so “gleeful,” critics interpreted her comments to mean she was happy Johnson was not standing.

“Biased BBC presenter celebrates Boris Johnson pulling out of the Tory leadership election,” one person tweeted. Another wrote on the social media site: “Welcome to the impartiality of @BBCNews.”

Later on in the show, one of her guests, parliamentary journalist Tony Grew, said Johnson thinks of himself as “world king” and sardonically added that in addition to the U.K. election he “probably thinks he’s best placed to win the American election in 2024.” In response, Croxall giggled, before stopping herself and saying “sorry.”

“I shouldn’t probably [laugh],” she told Grew. “I’m probably breaking some sort of terrible due impartiality rule by giggling but it is an extraordinary period in which to be a political journalist isn’t it.”

According to the BBC News digital site (which cited Press Association as its source), Croxley has now been taken off air while she is investigated for breaching the corporation’s strict impartiality rules.

A BBC spokesperson told Variety: “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.”

Others, however, believe the BBC overreacted and that Croxall was referring to the excitement of working during such a fast-paced political environment. “This is crazy,” tweeted British journalist Etan Small about Croxley’s suspension. “It was abundantly clear that Croxall was talking about her excitement at the front pages being rewritten while she was live on air.”

Earlier this year one of the BBC’s former star journalists, “Newsnight” anchor Emily Maitlis, rebuked the corporation for what she considers its heavy-handed approach to impartiality. In response, the BBC’s chief content office Charlotte Moore said Maitlis had been reprimanded after she had breached “editorial standards.”

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