Piers Morgan has stepped in to defend Fiona Bruce after she was accused of ‘trivialising’ domestic abuse with comments made about Stanley Johnson during Question Time.
Bruce, 58, partook in a discussion surrounding an alleged incident of domestic abuse, over Johnson’s ex-wife previously claiming that he broke her nose.
Stepping in to clarify, Bruce said: ‘Stanley Johnson has not commented publicly on that. Friends of his have said it did happen, it was a one-off.’
The comments sparked intense backlash on social media, and she later said she was ‘deeply sorry’ before announcing that she had decided to step down from her role as an ambassador of the charity Refuge.
Bruce said in a statement declaring her resignation from her role at Refuge: ‘Last week on Question Time, I was required to legally contextualise a question about Stanley Johnson. Those words have been taken as an expression of my own opinions which they are absolutely not, and as a minimising of domestic abuse, which I would never do.’
She continued: ‘I know survivors of domestic abuse have been distressed by what I was required to say on-air. For that, I am deeply sorry. I cannot change what I was required to say, but I can apologise for the very real impact that I can see it has had.’
Refuge released their own statement following Bruce’s announcement, saying: ‘Refuge’s position was, and remains, clear – domestic abuse is never a “one-off”, it is a pattern of behaviour that can manifest in a number of ways, including but not limited to physical abuse. Domestic abuse is never acceptable.’
The charity spoke to survivors of domestic abuse who explained how ‘devastating’ the wording had been for them, adding: ‘While we know the words were not Fiona’s own and were words she was legally obliged to read out, this does not lessen their impact and we cannot lose sight of that.’
The charity stressed that those words ‘minimised the seriousness of domestic abuse and this has been retraumatising for survivors’, adding that their focus ‘must remain’ on survivors, stating: ‘Every two minutes someone turns to Refuge for help and our priority is the women and their children who need us.’
Referring to their statement, broadcaster Morgan seethed: ‘What a shameful cowardly way to treat someone who did so much to promote your charity.
‘Fiona Bruce is a thoroughly decent woman who deserves more than being tossed to the virtue-signalling wolves over something she was directed to say in the heat of live TV.’
However, another penned: ‘Think it was the only happened once sentence that was in very poor taste.’
His comments came after Susanna Reid labelled the pile-on against Bruce as ‘outrageous’.
On Tuesday’s Good Morning Britain, Reid, 52, spoke to her co-host Ed Balls, 56, as well as a panel of guests about Bruce’s decision following the staunch criticism she received on social media over her conversation with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown about Johnson on Question Time.
‘She wasn’t saying that she believed that, she was saying that’s what the other side said,’ Reid said.
Emphasising her defence of Bruce, Reid added: ‘She very clearly says in that clip that she is contextualising it and giving the right of reply. She wasn’t arguing with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. I think it’s outrageous that she is being held personally accountable.’
In a biography written about former Prime Minister Boris Johnson called The Gambler, it’s alleged that his father Stanley broke his mother Charlotte’s nose.
Charlotte is quoted as saying: ‘He broke my nose. He made me feel like I deserved it.’
When the book was released in October 2020, both Stanley and Number 10 declined to comment, while Stanley was said to ‘deeply regret’ the alleged incident.
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