'I had to leave': Therese Coffey explains why she 'walked off' Good Morning Britain interview

Ross McGuinness

Watch: Therese Coffey disconnects her camera from GMB interview

A government minister has defended her decision to “walk off” an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey was in a heated discussion with the TV show’s hosts on Monday when she disconnected her camera and abruptly ended the interview.

Presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid had been questioning her on why the UK has one of the worst COVID-19 death rates in the world.

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey reaches in to disconnect her camera from an interview with Good Morning Britain. (ITV)
Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey reaches in to disconnect her camera to end an interview with Good Morning Britain. (ITV)

Later, she tweeted she had ended the interview because she had other media commitments and that Good Morning Britain had kept her waiting 15 minutes before the interview began.

She tweeted: “I was due to speak to several programmes this morning about Kickstart #PlanforJobs.

“I was ready to be on air at 815 as pre-agreed with producer; when start time was delayed by GMB, I reminded producer I had to leave before 830.”

During the interview, Coffey was asked why the UK’s death rate from coronavirus was so high compared to other countries.

“There’ll be a variety of reasons why people unfortunately have died because of this,” she said.

“Some of that will be recognising the age of our population, some of that will be recognising the obesity of our population.”

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey, right, had been engaged in a heated interview with Good Morning Britain's Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid. (ITV)
Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey, right, had been engaged in a heated interview with Good Morning Britain's Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid. (ITV)

At this point, Morgan asked: “Are you saying that the reason for us having the worst death rate in the world is because of the public – they’re too old and they’re too fat?”

Coffey replied: “I think that’s a very insulting thing you’ve just said.”

But Morgan responded: “You just said it.”

Read more: What you can and can't do under current lockdown rules

Seconds later, Coffey reached down to switch off her camera. Before doing so, she said: “You started this interview late, I have to go to other broadcasters as well. I wish that we had more time.

“I’m sorry, Piers, I’m going to have to go to another broadcaster. Piers, I’m sorry, I’m going to have to go.

“You’ve already had 20 minutes of my time. I appreciate your time as well. Thank you, bye bye.”

Coffey was praised for her actions by Tory MP Michael Fabricant, who tweeted that Morgan was a “male chauvinist bully boy”.

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's lockdown

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