ITV has denied allegations that a woman in a wheelchair was pushed aside to make room for presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield as they entered Westminster Hall to watch the Queen lie in state.
In a report by the Mail on Sunday, Mia Froggatt tweeted that her disabled mother had been moved out of the way so Schofield and Willoughby “make it to the 10 o’clock slot in time”.
Posting a picture of the couple, she wrote: “This is a photo taken yesterday by my sister’s husband after queuing for over 13 hours with my sister, her 10 year old daughter and my disabled mother.
“My mom was taken away from @hollywills and @schofe so they could #queuejumpers without a thank you #schofieldgate #queuejumping.”
The Mail on Sunday also claims that the presenters of This Morning were not on the accreditation list to see Queen Elizabeth II lying in state, but instead the names of their production team were used to help them gain access to Westminster Hall .
In a statement, an ITV representative said: “This morning Phillip and Holly asked to visit Westminster Hall to do a report on the Queen in state as part of a wider play on the death of the monarch.
“They followed all restrictions and guidelines and professionally visited the media area entered through the media center door, among many other broadcasters and media. They didn’t skip the line nor take anyone’s place in the queue. We asked them to take part and Holly and Phillip continue to have our full support.”
In terms of accreditation, they said: “Phillip and Holly had full accreditation organized by the This Morning production team. All other claims are untrue.”
Schofield and Willoughby have come under criticism since their September 16 visit to Westminster Hall.
The uproar began when her visit was compared to David Beckham’s on the same day. The former England captain waited in line for almost 14 hours to pay his respects, despite being reportedly offered a pass by an MP to skip the line.
In response to the allegations, Willoughby said: “Like hundreds of accredited broadcasters and journalists, we were granted special permission to access the hall. Its sole purpose was to cover the event to millions of people in Britain who could not visit Westminster in person… None of the broadcasters and journalists there took a seat in the queue. Of course we respected these rules.”
On that day, the presenters’ TV segment used footage from the official feed as media companies were not allowed to film in it.
In an 11-minute recap of the events, Willoughby shared pictures of her three children laying flowers at Buckingham Palace, as well as a letter her daughter Belle wrote to the late monarch. The taped segment ended with the couple discussing the visit on Westminster Bridge. “It was one of the most profound moments of my life,” Schofield said.
Since allegations of queuing first surfaced on social media, more than 70,500 members of the public have signed a petition calling for Schofield and Willoughby to be removed from This Morning.
About a quarter of a million people saw the late monarch’s coffin as she lay in state for four days, according to preliminary UK government figures, with wait times sometimes exceeding 24 hours.
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