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Dan Wootton’s GB News replacement may face Ofcom impartiality investigation

GB News presenter Patrick Christys who has taken over Dan Wootton's slot is a 'right-wing firebrand' whose views on Islamophobia have prompted Ofcom complaints

He’s the “right-wing firebrand” primed by GB News to become the channel’s “ultimate people’s champion”.

However, while GB News hopes fresh-faced Patrick Christys will help the station move on from the Laurence Fox scandal, Dan Wootton’s replacement is already facing a possible Ofcom investigation over remarks on his show about Islamophobia and the Israel-Hamas conflict.

With Wootton suspended since September after Fox’s sexist remarks aimed at journalist Ava Evans aired on his programme, GB News has moved to end the uncertainty over who will fill the 9pm slot, which has helped the channel beat Sky News and BBC News in the ratings.

Christys, a rising star at GB News who previously presented the afternoon show, will present the nightly show “until further notice”, the channel has said.

An award-winning broadcaster who says the “views of the average man and woman on the street simply aren’t represented in the traditional media,” Christys’s promotion demonstrates that GB News remains determined to continue airing provocative views despite the Fox affair.

Described as a “young, right-wing firebrand” by one insider, Christys is facing a possible investigation by the broadcasting watchdog over a show from earlier this month, which prompted 337 complaints.

Ofcom said it had received 337 objections relating to “reporting of the ongoing Gaza/Israel conflict, with complainants expressing concerns about impartiality”.

Discussing a Sir Keir Starmer video marking Islamophobia Awareness Month, Christys dismissed the event as “tosh” since Britain was “not an Islamophobic country” and accused the Labour leader of a “pathetic attempt to claw back support among the Muslim community”.

Sir Keir has faced criticism from Labour MPs with significant Muslim populations in their constituencies who are deeply concerned over the party’s stance backing a humanitarian pause to get aid into Gaza and hostages out rather than pushing harder for a ceasefire.

Ofcom said it was “assessing the complaints” but is yet to decide whether or not to investigate.

The watchdog is investigating a July edition of Christys’s show, among other GB News programmes, over claims that the channel’s Don’t Kill Cash campaign breached rules forbidding broadcasters from campaigning for policy changes.

Christys is no stranger to making provocative comments. During a discussion about the depiction of the Royal Family in The Crown, he remarked: “If you had one fake gun and one fake bullet and you lined up Harry and James Corden I don’t know which one you’d go for.”

And presenting an “alternative” Match of the Day during Gary Lineker’s suspension, he said: “I imagine that Gary Lineker would quite like Brighton, because it’s full of rainbow flags and woke people.”

Ofcom said the comments were “freedom of expression” and not an attack on the LGBTQ+ community.

He also attracted criticism on social media in India after suggesting the nation was “poverty-stricken” but also wealthy enough to consider repaying £2.3 bn of aid provided between 2016 and 2021.

Christys has also praised a widely criticised book by Andrew Huff which claimed Covid was genetically engineered and leaked on purpose.

GB News head of programming Ben Briscoe said: “Patrick is the ultimate people’s champion for The People’s Channel. He’s authentic, entertaining, relatable, and a sharp journalist who can hold any interviewee to account.”

Beginning his career as a local news reporter in Cumbria, Cheshire-born Christys worked for the Express and Daily Star websites before former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie helped him make the transition to radio.

Winning the Radio Academy’s prestigious 30 Under 30 Award, he became the youngest ever presenter on talkRADIO and completed a law degree during lockdown when his media career (as he described it) “hit the skids.”

Joining GB News in August 2021, Christys is engaged to fellow presenter Emily Carver, who began her new midday show alongside Tom Harwood on Monday.

Christys on Sunday joined in the joke when Ant and Dec apologised to GB News audience viewers – “Linda and Keith” – that star attraction Nigel Farage would be away for three weeks due to his decision to accept a reported £1.5m payday for taking part in I’m a Celebrity. The ITV duo’s joke was an apparent reference to GB News’s viewing figures.

Christys then invited a real Linda and Keith from the channel’s viewing pool on air and said he was “intrigued” to see how he and his producers would “manage to come up with a show that can compete with Nigel Farage eating a camel’s cock”.

GB News declined to comment on the possibility of further Ofcom investigations.

It is not known if Wootton will return to GB News, with the presenter, who apologised for his role in allowing Fox to deliver his sexist rant, remaining suspended.

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