Veteran BBC journalist John Simpson has become embroiled in a Twitter spat with Piers Morgan after he argued the controversial columnist’s interview with Donald Trump was “spineless”.
Morgan, who presents Good Morning Britain and is editor-at-large of US Mail Online, interviewed the US president at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last week.
Morgan was fiercely criticised for his interviewing approach in what was Mr Trump’s first international TV interview since becoming president.
Critics on social media argued the so-called “love-in” between Morgan and his “great friend” was uncomfortable to witness and 88 per cent of people polled by the Radio Times said Morgan was not tough enough on the world leader.
Mr Simpson, a long-time BBC foreign correspondent and world affairs editor, was among those who criticised Morgan for the interview.
He said: “The art of the political interview, Piers, is to push your interviewee hard – not let them spout self-evident tosh. That’s just showbiz”.
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Morgan responded to the tweet, which has been shared nearly six thousand times, by branding Simpson a “pompous old prune”.
He said: “The BBC led on revelations from my interview all Friday morning, and Andrew Marr said yesterday it had made real news. So it would appear you’re the one spouting tosh, you pompous old prune.”
But Simpson, who has spent the entirety of his career at the BBC, hit back: “Pompous, probably. Old, undeniably. Prune, quite possibly. But I don’t enjoy watching spineless political interviews.”
Morgan replied: “You once claimed live on air that the BBC (you!) had liberated Kabul, you egotistical charlatan. So please spare me the journalism lectures”.
The interview, in which the president discussed Jeremy Corbyn, Brexit, fast food, Twitter, the royal wedding and a number of other issues, gave ITV a 10pm bump as three million people tuned in to watch.
Simpson joined the BBC in 1970 at the age of 25 and in 1988 was appointed the corporation’s world affairs editor. He has reported on more than 38 conflicts in over 140 countries around the world was made a CBE in 1991.