Which MPs are paid GB News presenters and pundits? What did they say about Laurence Fox's Ava Evans comments
Senior Tory MP Caroline Nokes has criticised a number of her Conservative colleagues for “swanning off” to host shows on GB News.
and live on Freeview channel 276
The broadcaster has come under fire after Fox attacked journalist Ava Evans by saying “Who would want to shag that?” as he elicited laughs from presenter Dan Wootton. The pair have been suspended by GB News, which said it has launched an investigation into the programme. The media regulator Ofcom has also said it's investigating the show.
According to the Register of Members' Financial Interests, 11 MPs have been paid to either present or appear on GB News shows since 2021. Some Tory MPs, such as Lee Anderson, Philip Davies and Jacob Rees-Mogg present shows on the network.
The Commons Women and Equalities Committee chair Caroline Nokes said it is “very odd” for her colleagues to have presenting gigs while they have a “day job to do”.
She told BBC Newsnight: “I was appalled by a news channel broadcasting such blatantly misogynistic, outdated, hideous attitudes. I think it should be taken off air, it was entirely predictable that Laurence Fox was going to come out with a statement that was that offensive.”
And on her colleagues, who have their own lucrative gigs presenting on GB News, she said: "I think it’s a very odd relationship to be quite frank and I don’t go on any of their shows.
“From my perspective if you’re a Member of Parliament you have a day job to do, getting on with the work you have in the House of Commons and not swanning off, and in some cases several times a week, to present a show on a television channel.”
Earlier in the month, Ofcom ruled GB News breached impartiality rules when Tory MPs Philip Davies and Esther McVey interviewed Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. NationalWorld contacted every MP who been paid by GB News over the last two years, asking if they were going to continue working for the broadcaster and if they had a comment on Fox's vile remarks.
Which MPs have been paid to be presenters on GB News?
Lee Anderson, one of the Conservative Party's deputy chairmen, is paid £100,000-a-year by GB News for eight hours' work a week presenting a show on the channel. Anderson - who said migrants should "f*** off back to France" - previously wrote: “There is no place in politics for MPs to make financial gain from private companies in return for lobbying. We are paid handsomely for the job we do and if you need an extra £100,000 a year on top then you should really be looking for another job”.
He does not appear to have commented on the Laurence Fox incident, and tweeted to say he has an "exclusive scoop" interviewing Home Secretary Suella Braverman coming out tomorrow (28 September).
Tory MP Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, who received a knighthood this week, has earned more than £149,000 since 30 March 2023 in his role as a presenter on GB News. Rees-Mogg, like Laurence Fox, previously labelled “wokeness” as “nonsense” on Twitter, and hasn’t commented on Fox’s recent sexist and misogynistic rant on the platform.
Esther McVey, the Conservative MP for Tatton, has been presenting on GB News since August 2022, alongside her husband, fellow Tory MP Philip Davies. McVey has earned more than £90,000 this past year, while Davies has been paid more than £75,000.
McVey has not commented about Fox's remarks on Twitter, while Davies told PA Media: "Laurence Fox’s disgraceful remarks were completely unacceptable, unjustifiable and indefensible."
In response to NationalWorld's request for comment, which was sent out to all MPs who have been paid by GB News, Mr Davies said: "I made a public comment about Laurence Fox’s comments yesterday morning (27 September) which I saw was readily available on Twitter. I am not sure I am employed to be your researcher.
"Yes of course I am going to continue to appear on GB News. What a bizarre question. Did you ask BBC presenters if they were going to continue appearing on the BBC after Russell Brand's and Jonathan Ross' disgusting pre-recorded message to Andrew Sachs? Did you ask BBC presenters if they were still going to appear on the BBC after the Jimmy Savile scandal which led to the resignation of the Director General George Entwistle? Why do you engage in such double standards?"
In response to a typo in the request for comment which accidentally referred to Mr Davies as a "she", the Shipley MP said the NationalWorld reporter should resign for "misgendering" him. He said: "One final thing - I am not a 'she'. I am a 'he'. I think in your ridiculous world I am a he/him. Are you going to resign for misgendering me? And if not why not? No doubt you will publish my response to your appalling email in full."
Dehenna Davison, Tory MP for Bishop Auckland, previously presented a weekly TV show for GB News between June 2021 and September 2022, however stopped after becoming a minister. In that time, Davison earned around £1,900 a month, totalling to an estimated £30,000. Davison has spoken out against the offensive conversation between Fox and Wootton. Davison commented on the video on Twitter saying: “I have no words. This is vile.”
She also told BBC Women's Hour: "To single out an individual live on air in such a disgusting, derogatory, misogynistic way, completely unacceptable. It's absolutely right it's being investigated, and I think it's staggering actually seeing the number of so-called 'free speech crusaders' who have come to his [Fox] defence. How would they feel if this was being said about their daughter or their wife or their sister?"
Which MPs have been paid to appear as guests on GB News?
Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury, retweeted Ofcom’s statement on Twitter concerning complaints about Fox’s comments. The communications regulator, Ofcom, said, “We are assessing these complaints against our broadcast rules and will publish the outcome as quickly as possible.” Duffield has only been paid for an appearance on GB News once, earning £500 in 2022 for three hours work.
Fellow Labour MP Barry Gardiner had a paid appearance on GB News in August 2023, receiving £600 in payment. Gardiner took part in a discussion with Evans, the female journalist insulted by Fox, concerning the PM’s climate credentials last week, which he described “great” on Twitter.
He told NationalWorld: "Immediately following the appalling comments made by Laurence Fox on the Dan Wootton programme I notified GB News that I would no longer be available for scheduled filming for them the next day and that any future engagement I had with the channel would be entirely dependent on their subsequent action and performance."
Dame Andrea Jenkyns, Conservative MP for Morley and Outwood, has appeared on GB News in recent months. Since May 2023, it’s estimated she has earned £3,500. Jenkyns is yet to comment on the recent scandal.
Labour MP Carolyn Harris was paid £500 for co-hosting a panel show on 4 September 2022. And Ranil Jayawardena, the Tory MP for North East Hampshire, has appeared as a guest on the network six times since June 2023. He’s been paid a total of £3,000 for his appearances.
Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has not appeared to comment on GB News’ recent controversy. Since April 2023, the Conservative MP for Spelthorne has appeared , earning around £11,000.
What did Laurence Fox say about Ava Evans on GB News?
Fox suggested that no "self-respecting man" would "like to climb into bed with that woman, ever", adding that he could say that because he was appearing past the watershed. Speaking live to Wootton, he went on to suggest that only a "cucked little incel" would be interested in Evans.
He then added: "That little woman has been fed, spoon-fed, oppression, day after day after day after day after day, starting with the lie of the gender wage gap. . . We need powerful, strong, amazing women who make great points for themselves. We don’t need these sort of feminist 4.0. They’re pathetic and embarrassing". He concluded by saying “who’d want to s*** that?”
The comments were made during a segment tag-lined "hard-left commentator slammed for shrugging off male suicide crisis" and also “smirking face of disdain”.
Wootton smiled as Fox was making his comments and giggled when he had finished. He then said: "I'm just going to provide a touch of balance for her, because she did actually respond to this earlier today saying that she regretted her comments, but she didn't apologise." He then added: “She’s a very beautiful woman, Laurence, a very beautiful woman.”
"If a woman wants to go on television and belittle male suicide, she is totally within her rights to do so and not apologise, just as I am totally within my rights to say that I wouldn’t want to shag a hyper offended 4th wave feminist and not apologise, just as people are totally within their rights to be offended by my stating I would run a mile in the opposite direction from women like her, should our paths cross in a bar. It’s called free speech."
Evans, who is a political correspondent for online news site Joe, posted a clip of the interview to her X account. She said “Laurence Fox just did a whole speech on GB News on why men apparently won’t shag me?” and added “I feel physically sick”.
This article has been updated to include the full response from Mr Davies at his request to reflect a typo in the original email exchange in which Mr Davies claims to have been “misgendered”.