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Ofcom decides against formal probe after Burley ’empty chairs’ Tory chairman

The Sky News presenter’s actions sparked more than 270 complaints.

Kay Burley empty-chaired James Cleverly (PA)
Kay Burley empty-chaired James Cleverly (PA)

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Kay Burley’s decision to “empty chair” James Cleverly will not lead to a formal investigation after Ofcom assessed the whole programme.

The media watchdog received 271 complaints over the Sky News presenter’s actions.

Burley claimed the Conservative Party chairman missed a planned appearance on her breakfast show, although the Tory MP responded that he was not due to appear.

Burley addressed a vacant seat with planned questions for the Tory politician.

But after assessing whether the two-hour programme breached rules on due impartiality, an Ofcom spokeswoman said: “We assessed complaints about the presenter’s treatment of the Conservative Party chairman.

“Having assessed the programme as a whole, we were satisfied that the viewpoint of the Conservatives was given sufficient weight to maintain due impartiality.

“This included a repeated clip of James Cleverly discussing his party’s ambitions for the election campaign.”

Mr Cleverly denied that he had been due to attend, saying: “I like to think I’m a pretty decent multitasker, but I cannot physically be in two places at the same time.”

PA

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