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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Isobel Lewis

Phillip Schofield: What questions will MPs ask ITV boss Carolyn McCall today?

PA Media

ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall will appear before a parliamentary committee today (14 June) to answer questions about Phillip Schofield’s exit from This Morning.

The chief executive will face questions from MPs on the broadcaster’s approach to safeguarding and complaint handling at a session of the Culture, Media and Sport committee on Wednesday morning.

ITV’s managing director for media and entertainment Kevin Lygo, and their general counsel and company secretary Kyla Mullins will also give evidence.

You can follow The Independent’s blog for updates.

It comes after former This Morning presenter Schofield resigned from the broadcaster and was dropped by his talent agency YMU last month after admitting to an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a younger male colleague.

In the wake of his resignation, McCall wrote a letter to culture secretary Lucy Frazer, DCMS Committee chair Dame Caroline Dinenage and Ofcom’s chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes, to confirm ITV had instructed barrister Jane Mulcahy KC of Blackstone Chambers, to carry out an external review of the facts following Schofield’s departure.

What questions will McCall be asked?

McCall will likely be questioned on the extent to which ITV was aware of Schofield’s affair, which took place while the TV star was still married to wife Stephanie Lowe and before he came out publicly as gay in 2020.

Phillip Schofield’s affair took place before he came out in 2020 (BBC)

According to ITV, records show that “when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate”, both parties “denied” any such relationship. They say that this denial was reiterated “as recently” as May.

“In addition, ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on This Morning and were not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour,” they said at the time.

Questions will also likely cover the allegations of “toxicity” on the show which have plagued This Morning in recent weeks.

The show’s former resident doctor, Dr Ranj Singh, hit out at a “toxic” culture, saying he raised concerns about “bullying and discrimination” two years ago when he worked there – and afterwards felt like he was “managed out” for whistleblowing.

In her letter, McCall said that an external review conducted following a complaint made by Singh found “no evidence of bullying or discrimination”.

Holly and Phil don't know This Morning crew's names, says Eamonn Holmes

Meanwhile Eamonn Holmes, who presented This Morning on Fridays with wife Ruth Langsford until 2020, accused Schofield of “toxicity” in an interview with Dan Wootton on GB News.

Last week Magnus Brooke, group director of strategy, policy and regulation at ITV, was questioned about This Morning at a DCMS hearing about the draft Media Bill.

Earlier in the session, committee chairwoman McCall said MPs would not be addressing the issues around former presenter Schofield leaving the show, with McCall appearing in a separate session on Wednesday morning to face questions on the broadcaster’s approach to safeguarding and complaint handling.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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