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Dropped Lynda Bryans angry at UTV

Broadcaster Lynda Bryans believes UTV has called her professional integrity into question by dropping her from news programmes until after the General Election.

Left-in-limbo Lynda is said to be “devastated” by the company’s decision, against which she has also been told she cannot appeal.

It also emerged the popular news anchor was initially asked to sign a joint statement backing the UTV move — but refused.

Lynda was told she will not be allowed to present the flagship UTV Live or other news programmes because her husband, Mike Nesbitt, is running as a UUP candidate in the election, widely expected to be on May 6.

“She is totally devastated and considers this to be an attack on her integrity as a professional,” a close friend said.

And a former colleague said: “I think she will be realistic because she is a total professional. It is UTV who should be more professional and allow her to do her job. She is an individual in her own right.”

But UTV managing director Michael Wilson said: “Lynda's professionalism and integrity has not been questioned by UTV and UTV has conveyed this to Lynda at all times during recent discussions. Lynda Bryans is a highly-valued and respected member of the UTV Live team. However, given the strict regulations regarding broadcast coverage of elections, UTV has advised Lynda that she cannot present UTV Live until after the election is over.”

UTV also insisted it had taken legal advice which said every news programme featuring Lynda would have had to include a declaration that she is married to one of the candidates for the Strangford constituency.

“In effect it would have been an advert for Mike on every programme yet the only way we could have complied with electoral law,” a spokeswoman said.

“Lynda is not an employee of UTV. We have a contract with her company Take One Take Two, of which Lynda and Mike are both directors, for her to present news on UTV Live three programmes per week.

“Lynda is not suspended. She is very welcome in UTV. We are continuing to pay her contract while she is off-air. We are happy to discuss any alternative on-air (non news/current affairs) roles she may want to do until the election is over although she is not under obligation to do this and UTV doesn't have any other obvious non-news programmes in production at the moment.”

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