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GB News chief defends political lineup and says he wants to recruit even more MPs as presenters

The chief executive of GB News has defended employing serving politicians as presenters, insisting he wants to recruit more MPs of other parties to join the fray.

Angelos Frangopoulos, appearing in front of the House of Lords communications and digital committee hearing on Tuesday, said the channel has been trying to encourage MPs of other parties to join them.

Questioned on the lack of political diversity among GB News presenters, Mr Frangopoulos said: “This is not by design, we would love to have a wide range of MPs on our channel in the same way that stations like LBC do, etc. We’ve had discussions with political parties, some say ‘well, we’re not encouraging our MPs to take second jobs.’”

Among the lineup is Reform Party leader Richard Tice; former Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson, who has recently defected to Reform UK; and Conservative MP Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Former Reform UK leader Nigel Farage, former Conservative MP Michael Portillo and former Labour MP Gloria De Piero are also among its on-screen presenters.

Angelos Frangopoulos is a former Sky News Arabia journalist and is now CEO of GB News (PA)
Angelos Frangopoulos is a former Sky News Arabia journalist and is now CEO of GB News (PA)

“It’s purely because we’re yet to find someone who will say yes,” he added.

The channel has come under fire from communications regulator Ofcom after it found that five episodes of GB News programmes presented by Tory MPs were found have broken broadcasting rules.

Two episodes of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s State Of The Nation, two of Friday Morning With Esther And Phil, and one of Saturday Morning With Esther And Phil, broadcast during May and June 2023, broke due impartiality rules, Ofcom said.

It comes six months after the regulator found an episode of GB News’s The Live Desk, aired in July 2023, broke the same rules.

Ofcom said: “We found that host politicians acted as newsreaders, news interviewers or news reporters in sequences which clearly constituted news – including reporting breaking news events – without exceptional justification.

Serving politicians Esther McVey and Phillip Davies were two politicians named in the Ofcom ruling against GB News (GB News)
Serving politicians Esther McVey and Phillip Davies were two politicians named in the Ofcom ruling against GB News (GB News)

“News was, therefore, not presented with due impartiality.”

Ofcom added that politicians played a “partial role in society”, and news content presented by them was “likely to be viewed by audiences in light of that perceived bias”.

“In our view, the use of politicians to present the news risks undermining the integrity and credibility of regulated broadcast news,” it added.

The channel was also recently rapped by Ofcom after it ruled misogynistic comments made by actor Laurence Fox about a female journalist had broken broadcasting rules that protect “viewers from offensive content”.

The communications regulator has warned that further breaches by GB News could result in a statutory sanction, which range from an order not to reuse the offending content, to revoking a broadcaster’s licence.

Mr Frangopoulos told peers that his channel had received 50 inquiries from Ofcom over the past three years and said the channel had cooperated with each one.

He also argued that audiences have “different expectations” for impartiality from different channels and that GB News is part of the “ecosystem” of news and he maintained that “our brand has trust”.