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Taking the knee row

Harri quits GB News as Farage joins channel

Taking the knee: Guto Harri

Troubled GB News has lost another high profile member of the team as Guto Harri reportedly quit the fledgling broadcaster.

News presenter Mr Harri has been criticised for ‘taking the knee’ live on-air and was publicly reprimanded by GB News executives and taken off air after making the anti-racism gesture.

Critics of the gesture say it risks being seen to endorse some of the left wing ideas promoted by the Black Lives Matter movement as well as opposing racism. GB News said Mr Harri had broken the editorial code.

Mr Harri, who was an aide to Boris Johnson during his time as mayor of London, is said to have told bosses he had ‘]”no option now but to resign” from the channel which is chaired by Andrew Neil. 

He accused the TV channel of moving to the far-Right and claimed he was forced out after his on-air protest was blamed for a viewer boycott.  Some shows are said to have aired to zero viewers.

Nigel Farage in Edinburgh

Nigel Farage: new presenter (pic: Terry Murden)

John McAndrew, the channel’s director of programming, quit the station last week. He was considered the channel’s second-in-command but had resigned after being told to reduce the focus on local reporting and debate in favour of so-called “culture war topics’.

Gill Penlington, a former producer at CNN and Sky News who has worked in the past with Mr Neil, has also left.

The station has built its roster around the key shows presented by Mr Neil. But only two weeks after the station’s launch last month the former Sunday Times, Scotsman and BBC journalist announced he was taking an extended holiday at his main residence in the south of France.

News of Mr Harri’s departure came as the Brexit campaigner and former UK leader Nigel Farage launched a primetime slot on the channel.

Speaking on GB News today, Mr Farage took aim at Boris Johnson’s handling of lockdown and the easing of restrictions. He said: “It doesn’t feel like ‘Freedom Day’.

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