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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Nicole Vassell and Maanya Sachdeva

Richard Madeley’s 5 most controversial Good Morning Britain moments


In his time on Good Morning Britain, Richard Madeley has had no shortage of memorable moments.

A co-anchor on the programme since 2017, the presenter often appears alongside Susanna Reid as they discuss pressing topics of the day.

Whether it’s through interactions with guests, or by offering his personal take on a story, Madeley is known to audiences for expressing himself in an unfiltered manner.

Viewers are quick to share their thoughts on Madeley’s most eyebrow-raising moments on social media.

Here is a rundown of his most controversial moments so far.

‘Appalling’ discussions on Israel-Hamas war

Madeley sparked intense backlash on social media on 17 October, when he asked a British-Palestinian Liberal Democrat MP if she “had any indication” of Hamas’s terrorist attack on Israel before it unfolded.

Hamas’s shock attack on 7 October killed more than 1,300 Israelis, as prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu swore vengeance on the militant group. Israel has retaliated with relentless airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas, killing more than 2,750 Palestinians as of Monday (16 October).

The Lib-Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, Layla Moran appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss the escalating conflict in the Middle East.

GMB viewers accused Madeley of “appalling behaviour” when he asked Moran: “With your family connections in Gaza, did you have any indication of what was going to happen 10 days ago … was there any word on the street?”

Moran appeared taken aback by Madeley’s question before replying she was as surprised by the attack as anyone else.

Audiences called for Madeley to apologise to Moran or be taken off-air, one day after he compared civilian deaths in Gaza to those in Nazi Germany.

During a GMB episode on Monday, he asked his co-host Susanna Reid if it was “fair” to draw a “parallel” between the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza, with those of German civilians during the Second World War.

“Not just the holocaust, but with what the allies, the British, the free French did when they invaded Europe in 1944 and defeated the Nazis by going into Germany and in doing so, by going into Germany, apart from the bombing campaigns that the RAF and the American airforce launched, lots of German civilians were killed,” Madeley said.

A spokesperson for GMB later issued an apology on Madeley’s behalf, saying: “Richard is sorry that he has upset viewers with his question to Layla Moran.”

They added: “His intention was to understand the mood and atmosphere amongst the civilian population of Gaza immediately before the attacks … He did not mean to imply that she or her family might have had any prior knowledge of the attacks.”

Comparing climate activists to paedophiles

Madeley’s most recent moment of controversy took place on 28 March during a conversation about the decision of a group of Britain’s top lawyers to refuse to prosecute climate activists.

“If these people, these barristers and lawyers, have announced they will not prosecute – they simply won’t even get started in a court of law – someone who has glued themselves to the road as part of a Just Stop Oil protest, are they still happy to defend, say, a paedophile?” Madeley asked.

Some viewers expressed their disdain for his comments online, with one writing: “Note to Richard Madeley - if you do not have anything sensible to say please don’t say anything.”

Butting heads with Mick Lynch

In December 2022, Mick Lynch appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss the strike action that was due to take place across the transport network.

Madeley was passionate in his questioning of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) leader, and pressed Lynch on the timing of the strikes.

Richard Madeley and Mick Lynch
— (ITV)

“Why couldn’t you have put all these strikes in January?” Madeley asked Lynch. “Why do you have to target people at Christmas? You’ll be putting people out of business who run hotels, who run restaurants, who run bars, and retail.”

“Well, we’re not targeting Christmas,” Lynch replied. “It isn’t Christmas yet, Richard. I don’t know when your Christmas starts, but mine starts on Christmas Eve.”

Viewers were less than impressed with Madeley’s conduct in the conversation, with one online commenter tweeting: “Richard Madeley needs to calm down and let other people speak. A lot of the public stand with the rail strikers and nurses etc.”

Shamima Begum and Hitler Youth comments

During a discussion on whether former Isis bride Shamima Begum should be allowed to return to the country, Madeley went off on a tangent about the Second World War.

“Obviously, we had the Nuremberg trials after the war and we hanged quite a few Nazis and imprisoned a lot of others and we let them out eventually.

“But we didn’t go after the Hitler Youth as far as I’m aware. We didn’t go after the Hitler Youth – we only went after adults who served in the Hitler regime. And that’s something to reflect on, I think.”

Susanna Reid appeared to be baffled by her co-host’s reflections, and it led to some viewers comparing him to Alan Partridge, Steve Coogan’s bumbling broadcaster character.

Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid
— (Twitter)

Debating with Dr Hilary about Covid lockdown restrictions

In July 2021, Madeley clashed opinions with Dr Hilary Jones, a longtime contributor to the programme, over their differing views on lockdown restrictions.

The GP claimed that the UK should take rising Covid-19 cases more seriously – as Australia was at the time – rather than “abandoning” restrictions altogether.

However, Madeley opposed Dr Jones’s caution, telling him: “But we have the vaccine and Australia hasn’t.”

When Hilary explained that vaccines didn’t provide “100 per cent protection”, Madeley said that he was being “misleading”.

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV1 and ITVX.

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