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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Jessica Sansome

Ed Balls forced to issue apology on ITV Good Morning Britain after 'bad' mistake before he's cut off

Ed Balls was forced to issue an apology as he made a 'bad' mistake on Good Morning Britain. The former MP was back fronting the ITV news programme on Wednesday (February 8) after a few days absence. He joined Susanna Reid at the helm of the show after Ben Shephard made an unusually early appearance on Monday and Tuesday.

Throughout the programme, Ed and Susanna were bringing live updates on the devastating Turkey and Syria earthquake. The death toll from the earthquake in southern Turkey and northern Syria, at the time of writing, has climbed past 9,400, making it the deadliest seismic event in more than a decade.

Turkish authorities updated the country’s death toll to 6,957 on Wednesday. In neighbouring Syria, the government has reported 1,250 deaths from Monday’s pre-dawn earthquake in the areas it controls.

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When discussing the latest updates, Ed and Susanna were joined in the studio by journalists Kevin Maguire and Andrew Pierce and GMB aired video footage of the search and rescue operation underway, as the death toll reached 8,700, with numbers expected to rise.

Kevin described the numbers as ‘incredible’ as he noted the death toll had already doubled that of 9/11, which killed 2,977. He said: “Sometimes when I go to football or the rugby and you look at the stadium, and there will be 40,000 people there and you think ‘that section is already gone’. Died.”

The comparison prompted Ed to claim in relation to the Turkey earthquake: "It’s already 80 Wembley stadiums that have died already." But Kevin questioned his comments as this would but the horrific death toll into the millions. "80 Wembley stadiums? Is it 80,000 at Wembley?" he quizzed.

Ed turned to Susanna and said: "I think…" before interrupting himself to say: "No, no, no, I've got that wrong. That was my mistake. Bad calculations. Sorry, sorry, sorry."

Kevin and Andrew were on the programme at the time of the mistake (ITV)

But that wasn't Ed's only error during the programme as he appeared to annoy Susanna before being cut off for an ad break. Among the other topics being discussed on the show was news that the Church of England is considering alternative ways of referring to God after priests asked to be allowed to use gender-neutral terms instead.

The Church said it would be launching a new project in the spring about whether the pronoun "he" can be changed or not and any potential changes would alter centuries' old tradition, and would have to be approved by synod, the Church's decision-making body. Susanna and Ed were joined by Anglican priest Charlie Bell and evangelical pastor Graham Nicholls when the conversation turned to same-sex marriage.

While Bell told the hosts he very much wants to marry his male partner in a church, Nicholls said he believes sex outside of Christian marriage is a sin, and that a Christian marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

Following the debate, Susanna referred to same-sex marriage in the UK as "one of the enduring legacies of David Cameron's government". She added: "He brought that in, same-sex marriage," to which Ed, a former Labour MP, quickly interjected and said: "With cross-party support. He couldn't have done it just with his majority".

But Susanna hit back: "You had to make it political", while Ed explained change "sometimes happens" across the parties, before the programme quickly turned to a brief weather update and an ad break.


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