MP blasts Phillip Schofield over TV ‘stunt’
Conservative MP and LGBTory patron Stuart Andrew has criticised television presenter Phillip Schofield for handing David Cameron a list of alleged paedophiles during a live interview.
Mr Schofield said he had based the list, which was not fully concealed from view, on internet speculation and asked the prime minister to comment on it during Thursday’s broadcast of ITV’s This Morning.
The prime minister, who did not look at the list, said he was “worried” that speculation about unproven allegations could lead to a “witch-hunt particularly against people who are gay” and advised anyone with evidence of abuse to contact police.
According to Sky News, Conservative MP Stuart Andrew said: “It is not acceptable to take a cheap shot on something that is so fiercely sensitive. Anybody who has got any allegations to make must make them to the police, so they can be properly investigated.”
Speaking on BBC London 94.9, London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “I think it was a pretty rum piece of journalism frankly to produce a list in that way without any real substantiation or proper journalistic efforts to get to the bottom of whatever allegations were made about the individuals who might have been named on that bit of paper”.
Labour MP Chuka Umunna also said it had been “foolish and irresponsible”.
TV regulator Ofcom said it had received complaints about the ITV This Morning programme and Philip Schofield has now apologised saying:
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“If any viewer was able to identify anyone listed, I would like to apologise and stress that was never my intention.
“I was not accusing anyone of anything and it is essential that it is understood that I would never be part of any kind of witch-hunt.
“Unfortunately, there may have been a misjudged camera angle for a split second as I showed the prime minister some information I had obtained from the internet.
“I asked for his reaction to give him the opportunity to make a point which he very clearly made about the dangers of any witch-hunt.”
The comments come as Conservative peer Lord McAlpine said allegations linking him to alleged historical child abuse were “wholly false and seriously defamatory”.
The ex-party treasurer released a statement on Friday after a man claimed he had been abused by an unnamed senior politician at a care home in north Wales.