Indignant Jacob Rees-Mogg confronts Krishnan Guru-Murthy for swearing at Tory MP

Krishnan Guru-Murthy (left) was questioned by Jacob Rees-Mogg (right) on his comments about Northern Ireland Minister Steve Baker. (Twitter/Clean Feed @ The TV Room)
Krishnan Guru-Murthy (left) was questioned by Jacob Rees-Mogg (right) on his comments about Northern Ireland Minister Steve Baker. (Twitter/Clean Feed @ The TV Room)

Channel 4 news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy has been criticised over recent comments he made about a Conservative MP that led to him being taken off-air for a week.

During an off-air moment after an interview with Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker in October, Guru-Murthy was heard to say: "What a c***."

The incident prompted Channel 4 to suspend him for breaching its code of conduct.

Guru-Murthy retuned to his role a week later and also apologised to Baker for what he described as "an unguarded moment off air".

However, during a tense exchange about Brexit during an interview with Guru-Murthy on Thursday following Jeremy Hunt's autumn statement the incident was resurrected by Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The showdown came during discussions about whether people had changed their minds over the UK's vote to leave the UK.

New polling by YouGov has found that a third of Brits (32%) think it was right to leave the EU, but a majority (56%) say it was wrong.

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Rees-Mogg said: "We had a referendum - and this is a bit like the Scottish question - and those of you who lost, and I include you in that category after your comments to Steve Baker, those of you who lost are very determined to have another referendum. You're just like Nicola Sturgeon quite honestly."

Guru-Murthy replied: "We'll leave that for another conversation. My comments had nothing to do with politics or policy I assure you."

But the Tory MP persisted, asking: "Have you apologised for them online? Do you want to apologise on the air for them because I think that's important."

The news anchor added: "I have apologised Mr Rees-Mogg and he's accepted and we've moved on," to which he received the response: "Oh good."

Guru-Murthy was suspended for a week following his comment about Baker, which was made on 19 October during a tempestuous day in Westminster towards the end of Liz Truss' period as prime minister, including the resignation of Suella Braverman resign as home secretary. It was not broadcast.

A statement from Channel 4 at the time said: “Channel 4 has a strict code of conduct for all its employees, including its programming teams and on-air presenters, and takes any breaches seriously.

"Following an off-air incident, Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy has been taken off air for a week."

Northern Ireland Minister Steve Baker during the 62nd plenary of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, Farnham Estate Spa and Golf Course in County Cavan, Ireland. (Photo by Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images)
Northern Ireland Minister Steve Baker later said all was forgiven. (PA/Getty)

After the incident Guru-Murthy tweeted: "After a robust interview with Steve Baker MP I used a very offensive word in an unguarded moment off air.

"While it was not broadcast that word in any context is beneath the standards I set myself and I apologise unreservedly.

"I have reached out to Steve Baker to say sorry."

In an interview with Times Radio, Baker said that sacking Guru-Murthy would be a "service to the public" if he was found to be in breach of his code of conduct.

But he later replied to Guru-Murthy’s tweet, accepting the apology and saying he "appreciated" the gesture, telling the journalist "all is forgiven".