A former New Zealand television host has come under fire after ambushing British Prime Minister David Cameron on live TV with a list of Tory party members he suspected of being paedophiles after a quick internet search.
Presenter of UK breakfast show This Morning Phillip Schofield has issued an apology for a “misjudged camera angle”, the Daily Mail reported.
Schofield was born in Oldham, Greater Manchester, but moved to New Zealand with his family when he was 19. He made his TV debut here as the host of children’s music show Shazam in 1982, and also had a stint working for Radio Hauraki.
Live on the ITV1 show yesterday (NZ time), Schofield handed a list of Tory Party names to the Prime Minister he suspected of being paedophiles after a “three minute cursory glance” at the internet.
For a brief moment, as the Prime Minister handed the card back, Schofield flashed it toward the camera and at least two of the names were feared to be visible.
This Morning has a viewership of millions.
Cameron condemned the stunt, saying it could quickly turn into a witch hunt if not careful.
“Particularly against people who are gay,” he said.
Later, Downing Street stepped up their criticism saying instead of trying to embarrass the Prime Minister, any evidence should be handed to the police.
The Mail reported a spokesman for Cameron told a media briefing: “We shouldn’t have people just throwing names and allegations around and trial by Twitter. The right way to deal with these matters is to go to the police.”
Schofield apologised for allowing the names on the card to be visible.
“If any viewer was able to identify anyone listed, I would like to apologise and stress that was never my intention.”
Meanwhile, a Tory MP has written a public letter the Office of Communications asking whether they will investigate.
Britain has been rocked by revelations that once-beloved BBC presenter Jimmy Savile sexually abused hundreds of children throughout his decades-long career.
Savile died last year aged 82, but while it has emerged many knew of his crimes nothing was investigated until this year.
It follows recent claims by Newsnight host Steve Messham that he was abused by a former top Tory at the Bryn Estyn home in North Wales during the Thatcher era.
Those claims are now at the centre of a government inquiry.
Labour MP Tom Watson also claimed in the Commons last month that a former No. 10 aide had links to a paedophile ring in the early 1990s. Several names have been circulating online ever since.
Cameron was appearing on This Morning to discuss a new drive to tackle dementia when he was ambushed by Schofield.
Schofield alleged “there could have been a cover-up, a paedophile ring amongst the elite of great Britain that led all the way to Downing Street”.
– © Fairfax NZ News