'Bring back Piers Morgan' campaign to reinstate GMB presenter reaches nearly 200,000 signatures
Petitions calling for Good Morning Britain (GMB) presenter Piers Morgan to be reinstated in his role have reached a combined total of almost 200,000 signatures.
Morgan stood down after saying he did not believe Meghan Markle’s remarks in her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this week, when she spoke about her mental health and having suicidal thoughts.
His comments were criticised by mental health charity Mind and prompted 41,000 complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom, and a formal complaint to ITV from Meghan.
The health charity said in a tweet it was “disappointed and concerned” with Morgan’s comments adding: “It’s vital that, when people reach out for support or share their experiences of ill mental health, they are treated with dignity, respect and empathy.”
Three petitions on Change.org are now calling for Morgan to return to GMB have since garnered a combined total of more than 196,000 signatures.
But will the shows of the support stand a chance of getting the presenter back on television screens?
Here is everything you need to know about it.
Could Piers Morgan return to GMB?
It seems unlikely at this stage, even in the face of the petitions’ seemingly overwhelming support.
The presenter himself has said he will not be returning to Good Morning Britain, saying the latest petitions were a welcome change of tone from what the divisive broadcaster is used to dealing with.
The presenter, 55, thanked those who had supported him following his on-air comments about the Duchess of Sussex and her headline-making interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In response to the numbers, Morgan wrote on Twitter: “I won’t be going back, but thanks to everyone who has signed these petitions. Normally, people start petitions to have me fired or deported, so this is a pleasant surprise.”
Speaking on a media call following Morgan’s departure earlier this week, ITV chief executive Dame Carolyn insisted GMB is a “balanced show”, saying: “ITV has many voices and we try to represent many voices every day. It’s not about one opinion.”
On Morgan’s comments, she said: “I completely believe what she [Meghan] said. It’s important everyone does.”
What has Morgan said about his Markle comments?
Despite the furore, Morgan has said he is sticking by his comments about the Duchess of Sussex, reinforcing that he “didn’t believe Meghan Markle in her Oprah interview”.
Speaking outside his London home after quitting GMB, Morgan told reporters: “If people want to believe Meghan Markle, that’s entirely their right.
“I don’t believe almost anything that comes out of her mouth and I think the damage she’s done to the British monarchy and to the Queen at a time when Prince Philip is lying in hospital is enormous and frankly contemptible.
“If I have to fall on my sword for expressing an honestly held opinion about Meghan Markle and that diatribe of bilge that she came out with in that interview, so be it.”
Why did Morgan storm off from GMB?
On 11 March, Morgan Tweeted that he had enjoyed a victory over BBC Breakfast on his final day on GMB.
“I had one goal when I joined GMB – beat BBC Breakfast in the ratings,” he wrote. “On my last day, we did it. That was down to the hard work and dedication of the whole team.”
It may have also had something to do with his much talked about storming off from the GMB set, which had viewers tuning in whether a Morgan critic or supporter.
Discussing the tell-all chat on the Tuesday 9 March edition of the show with Alex Beresford, Morgan stood up and walked when the GMB weather presenter challenged him on his personal opinions of Markle.
“I understand that you don’t like Meghan Markle, you’ve made it so clear a number of times on this programme,” said Beresford.
“And I understand you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle,” he added, “or had one and she cut you off.
"She’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to. Has she said anything about you since she cut you off? I don’t think she has but yet you continue to trash her.”
It was at this point that Morgan stood up and said: “OK, I’m done with this” and walked off set, saying: “Sorry, no… sorry, can’t do this…”
As Morgan left the studio, co-host Susanna Reid hastily called for an ad break to allow producers a chance to get the situation under control.
After stalking off, Morgan returned to the set after a conversation with Beresford and Reid around 10 minutes later.
Taking to Twitter shortly after, Morgan said: “Now you’re all watching... next on @GMB, the first live world exclusive interview with Meghan Markle’s father Thomas reacting to the Oprah interview.”
ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall said on Tuesday the row was not “manufactured”.
Beresford said he had not wanted Morgan to quit the show after they had a heated on-air discussion about Meghan which led to Morgan walking off set.
On Twitter, he said: “I didn’t want him to quit, but I did want him to listen," adding that challenging Morgan’s views was “not an outrage”.
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, the Yorkshire Evening Post