BBC blames ‘error' for message appearing to criticise Emily Maitlis

The presenter's handling of the televised Conservative leadership debate was questioned by some viewers.

The BBC has blamed an “error” after comments appearing to criticise presenter Emily Maitlis appeared on its website.

Maitlis chaired last week’s televised Conservative leadership debate, which proved controversial and attracted at least 31 complaints to TV watchdog Ofcom.

Emily Maitlis
Emily Maitlis chaired the Conservative leadership contest between Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

Some viewers also criticised Maitlis for her handling of the debate and in response the BBC published a statement on its complaints website which said: “We appreciate that her style may not be to everyone’s taste.

“But we consider that she did a good job.”

However, the corporation has now backtracked on the comment and said: “An earlier draft of this response was published in error. Emily’s a superb broadcaster.”

Emily Maitlis
Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis was criticised by some for her handling of the Tory leadership debate (Ian West/PA)

Our Next Prime Minister was watched by more than five million viewers when it aired last week and featured five potential candidates.

The BBC was criticised for its choice of guests to ask the contenders questions after it emerged that an imam who featured has been suspended from his mosque and duties at the school where he works amid controversy about his past comments on Israel.

Newsnight presenter Maitlis was also accused of giving Mr Johnson more follow-up questions than the other candidates.

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