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Newsnight episode on Dominic Cummings receives almost 24,000 complaints

The episode aired in May.

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Emily Maitlis (Ian West/PA)

Emily Maitlis (Ian West/PA)

Emily Maitlis (Ian West/PA)

The BBC has received 23,674 complaints over an episode of Newsnight in which Emily Maitlis delivered an introduction about the Dominic Cummings lockdown row.

Presenter Maitlis opened the show on BBC Two by saying the Prime Minister’s chief adviser had “broken the rules” and “the country can see that, and it’s shocked the Government cannot”.

The BBC subsequently found the episode “did not meet our standards of due impartiality” and said staff had been “reminded of the guidelines”.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings (Yui Mok/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings (Yui Mok/PA)

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings (Yui Mok/PA)

The complaints were made on the grounds that viewers felt the programme showed “bias against Dominic Cummings and/or the Government”.

In a report detailing the complaints, the BBC said they came “after invitations to complain were posted online”.

Mr Cummings travelled to Durham from London while the most stringent lockdown measures were in place, sparking criticism.

Following the controversy over Mr Cummings, Maitlis did not appear as scheduled on an episode of Newsnight, saying she asked for the evening off.

The episode of Newsnight aired on May 26.

PA