Emily Maitlis: Dominic Cummings texted me after Newsnight monologue

Emily Maitlis: Dominic Cummings texted me after Newsnight monologue
Dominic Cummings monologue row

Emily Maitlis says Dominic Cummings texted her a message of support following the furore over her Newsnight monologue.

The TV presenter sparked controversy with her summing up of his lockdown row.

The BBC said the episode “did not meet our standards of due impartiality”, while its head of news, Fran Unsworth, said it belonged “more on the op-ed page in a newspaper”.

But Maitlis told Tatler magazine that the Prime Minister’s chief adviser “sent me a text of support”.

Boris Johnson’s senior aide Dominic Cummings (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“It was peak surreal getting a message of support from him in the middle of all the crazy stuff,” she said.

In the monologue, Maitlis said the Prime Minister’s chief adviser had “broken the rules” and “the country can see that, and it’s shocked the Government cannot”.

Maitlis said she had more support from viewers after the controversy than she did following her interview with the Duke of York.

“I think that was the biggest I’ve had – more than Andrew, more than anything. I was overwhelmed by it,” she said.

“I wasn’t expecting such a flood of warmth.”

Maitlis said Andrew “was very pleased” after the interview.

“He was actually so generous with his time. He took us on a tour of the extraordinary corridor of Buckingham Palace, he pointed out the statues, the staircases and where the Queen has her audiences with prime ministers.

“He said to me, ‘Next time you come, we’ll talk about Prince Albert. He was the entrepreneur of the family’.”

Tatler September cover (Luc Braquet/Tatler)

But the presenter said she had not “grasped exactly what was in the interview until I finished”.

Maitlis added: “You’re so determined not to miss a beat, to check with yourself you haven’t used the wrong tone or got something stupendously wrong, that actually you’re not sitting there grinning, thinking, ‘Hahaha! That’s amazing!'”

She also spoke about her friendship with Piers Morgan.

“I think of Piers as someone who’s incredibly loyal. I know if I was in prison, Piers Morgan would come and see me,” the Newsnight host said.

“I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but he’d be there. And I like the fact that I can have a row with him without it affecting our friendship – I don’t think I’ve ever had dinner with him without it ending in a massive row.

“I think that’s a good thing.”

The full feature is in the September issue of Tatler available via digital download and newsstands on Thursday July 30.

More in this section

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox