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Daily Record
Daily Record
Kirsten McStay & Charlotte McIntyre

ITV boss grilled about This Morning's 'toxic and miserable' environment as MP mocks Holly's speech

MPs today grilled an ITV boss on claims of 'bullying' at This Morning following allegations of a 'toxic and unhappy' environment at the daytime show.

Group Director of Strategy, Policy and Regulation at ITV Magnus Brooke sat down in front of politicians after the show came under fire following Phillip Schofield's admission of an affair with a younger colleague.

Many questions had been raised about ITV bosses covering the affair up as former staff members have claimed that there is a toxic atmosphere on the show and also behind the scenes bullying.

And today, Magnus faced a barrage of questions and MP John Nicolson began the hearing by asking Brooke whether he was "okay" which was a reference to Holly Willoughby's statement she made on Monday.

Brooke responded saying he was “fine” before the questioning commenced.

Nicolson said: “It’s the question du jour at This Morning. I spent some time at the weekend talking to whistleblowers from ITV including people who work and have worked at This Morning. It seems like a very unhappy place.

Holly Willoughby and Josie Gibson were all smiles in their return to This Morning after the Schofield scandal (Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

“Are you satisfied with the duty of care that the editorial team and senior managers provide to staff, especially young staff working there and at ITV more generally?”

Magnus replied: "I think there's a there's a very sophisticated and a significant system of safeguarding, and duty of care at ITV with a very significant set of policies. We have a code of conduct, which sets out our expectations about how people behave, and deals with a number of different issues.

"We have opportunities to respect, dignity and understanding. And then we then have an important set of requirements, which hold people to account in turn."

"Why are so many of the staff unhappy, former and current staff?" Nicolson quipped as the ITV boss hit back: "I can't answer that question at the moment Mr. Nicholson, as you know, we've also appointed Jane Mulcahy, a KC to have a look at the circumstances."

Magnus Brooke was asked 'why are so many of your staff unhappy?' (parliamentlive)

The MP then asked Brook about the "bullying allegations" to which the ITV boss insisted: "Look we take our responsibilities in relation to safeguarding a duty of care very seriously. Bullying is absolutely in breach of our Code of Conduct, very clearly."

Nicolson went on to brand This Morning editor Martin Frizell’s answer to questions about allegations of a “toxic” work environment at ITV as “outrageously dismissive and flippant on camera about an immensely serious issue”.

Sky News approached Frizell on Monday before Holly Willoughby returned to the show following Phillip Schofield’s exit from ITV and his admission of an affair with a younger male colleague and asked asked if there is a “toxic” work environment at This Morning.

Eamonn Holmes has made no secret of his disdain for the ITV show and former host Phillip Schofield (PA)

Frizell told the reporter: “I’ll tell you what’s toxic and I’ve always found it toxic. Aubergine. Do you like aubergine? Do you? Do you like aubergine because I don’t like aubergine. It’s just a personal thing.”

"I wouldn't endorse what he said," Brooke replied before describing Frizell's comments as "ill-judged".

"I can assure you on behalf of ITV that we do take all of these allegations very seriously, precisely because we do have a culture in which people's conduct, it matters enormously," he added.

When asked if Frizell's position is secure, Brooke said: “That is not a question for me and not a question for now.”

After Phil left This Morning, former colleagues such as Eamonn Holmes and Dr Ranj Singh have spoken out to condemn Schofield's position at the ITV show.

Dr Ranj, who featured frequently on the show, said he made a complaint about the toxicity at This Morning to the head of ITV during his time there.

Meanwhile, Eamonn told Dan Wootton on GB News that "the toxicity" is with Phillip.

Eamonn claimed: "He is the chief narcissist. He is a complete and utter dyed in the wool narcissist, everything is about him.

"He created an atmosphere where people hated him; those people he would avoid them in the corridor, he didn’t look at anybody, he didn’t know anybody’s name."

During his sit-down interview with the BBC, Phillip addressed the claims of toxicity.

He said: "He said: "I have never abused my power anywhere, I'm not a bully. You read the things you are supposed to be. I don't lord it over TV studios. Everyone is a friend.

"I've had texts from people I worked with saying, 'Oh my God I cant believe they are saying this we love working with you."

"I snapped once at one of producers around the time I came out and after the meeting I went and apologised. It's not me I don't do that. I'm not rude on the studio floor. I don't lord it around."

Addressing criticism from his former co-stars, Schofield said: "Some people may be toxic, and see toxicity everywhere because that's the lens they are looking at the world."

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