Piers Morgan denies GMB break is linked to transgender backlash

Amy West
'Good Morning Britain' host Piers Morgan has confirmed he's taking a break from the show (ITV)

Piers Morgan has confirmed that he’s taking a break from Good Morning Britain, assuring fans of the show that it has nothing to do with the backlash he’s been receiving over the last week or so.

The controversial TV personality - who was replaced by Ben Shepherd on Thursday’s instalment - has come under fire for the way he discusses gender-related issues recently, but the 54-year-old insists that his time off isn’t ITV’s way of reacting to the rallying calls for him to be sacked.

Read more: Piers Morgan criticises 'ridiculous' transphobia claims as he responds to petition calling for 'GMB' sacking

Good Morning Britain is back tomorrow. I'm not,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday 16 October. “I'll see you in a couple of weeks. Bye.”

Responding to a tweet that stated he was being “taken off air” deliberately, Morgan wrote: "When you say 'taken off air', I think you mean 'has taken himself off air to go lie under a palm tree in Beverly Hills'."

The news of Morgan’s break from the show has been met with a mixed reaction online. One Twitter user encouraged the UK public to tune in more while the former Mirror editor is on his hiatus, in a bid to show ITV that people prefer the morning show when he’s not on it.

The sentiment has been retweeted over 8k times.

On Friday 11 October, a petition requesting Morgan’s removal from the programme was launched by a musician named Kennedy. They claimed that by allowing him to "regularly berate and mock those who do not identify in a way he is willing to comprehend" ITV ism in itself, "actively choosing to promote an insidious agenda against transgender people.”

In response to the campaign, GMB fan Margaret Lowry started her own page, asking people to support it in its fight to keep Morgan in the public eye “for his common sense approach to life.”

Piers Morgan (L) was replaced by Ben Shepherd on Thursday 17 October's show (Matthew Chattle/Barcroft Media via Getty Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

As it stands, Morgan seemed unfazed by the movement against him as he took to Twitter to share the link to Lowry’s counter-petition alongside the caption: “Spread the word, my people... Sign, RT, and save me as your voice against the shriekingly illiberal liberals who want to cancel everyone who dares challenge them...”

On a later show, Morgan joked that he’d actually received a pay rise because of all the publicity the petition has given him since it began a few days ago.

Read more: Piers Morgan blasts 'snivelling toady' David Walliams

"You're not going to get rid of me. I don't think they've really worked this through,” he laughed. "They think making me trend worldwide for two days, making me the most talked about breakfast presenter in the world, will get rid of me.

"Let me tell you what you've done. You've helped me get a pay rise. Cheers everybody."