The GMB host tweeted it was “disgraceful” that they had replaced Ms Maitlis after Tuesday night’s edition of Newsnight saw the host question the government’s handling of Dominic Cummings’ lockdown trip to Durham. BBC chiefs said the BBC2 Programme’s lead presenter had breached impartiality rules with her opening remarks on the programme.
In the monologue, Maitlis told viewers: “Dominic Cummings broke the rules – the country can see that and it’s shocked the government cannot.
“The longer ministers and the prime minister insist he worked within them, the more likely the angry response to the scandal is likely to be.
“He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools, and has allowed many more to assume they can flout them.”
The footage from the episode went viral on social media, accumulating millions of views, including Mr Morgan, who shared the clip on his own social media.
The GMB host tweeted it was “disgraceful” that they had replaced Ms Maitlis.
He retweeted the footage with the caption: “RT, share…shame the BBC.”
Before going on to write: “So, Lord Hall said nothing as the Govt banned ministers from @BBCNewsnight for months, but humiliates @maitlis for speaking the truth about lying Cummings?
“This is why I’d never work for the BBC – great journalists, cowardly weasel management.” He added.
And when he saw that Ms Maitlis had been replaced tonight, he tweeted: “Sorry, what? This is disgraceful.”
The statement from Maitlis angered Conservative politicians who have previously criticised the broadcaster and other journalists who felt it had gone against the corporations “impartial” approach to news.
BBC news bosses quickly addressed the furore surrounding the monologue.
The corporation said in a statement: “The BBC must uphold the highest standards of due impartiality in its news output.
“We’ve reviewed the entirety of last night’s Newsnight, including the opening section, and while we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism.
“We feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme.
“As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality. Our staff have been reminded of the guidelines.”
Meanwhile SNP deputy leader Keith Brown said: “This statement is a gutless capitulation by BBC bosses.
“Newsnight should be commended – not slapped down – for their serious investigative work on Cummings, that’s not something you could say about the BBC News at 10.
Can do lockdown.
“Pandering to 10 Downing Street by curbing journalists from being able to hold the UK government to account is of serious concern.”
An SNP spokesperson added: “It’s ironic that the only apology over the whole Dominic Cummings lockdown breaches scandal comes from the BBC.”
Maitlis’s last year published a book “Airhead on life’ that saw her win acclaim and she also received a plethora of praise from her interview with Prince Andrew.
Last month she had another viral hit with a monologue that dismissed the notion of coronavirus being a “great leveller” as those in low-income jobs, were more likely to be severely impacted by the virus.
On Twitter user said of her replacement: “So much for freedom of the press. I’m ashamed of the BBC”
Another replied: “She’s supposed to be neutral!”
While a third commented: “She be swept up by sky, itv or ch4 easily – she’s a superb journalist! One of the last true professionals”