Gaunt leaves BBC breakfast show for national newspaper

By Caitlin Pike

Jon Gaunt is leaving the flagship breakfast show at BBC Coventry and
Warwickshire a month after he was heralded as the main star at the
station’s launch.

Gaunt, who was previously the voice of BBC London, has accepted a
highly lucrative contract with a national newspaper, which puts him in
breach of the BBC’s editorial guidelines on writing for other media.

The
guidelines were brought in after Andrew Gilligan wrote an article for
the Mail on Sunday in 2003 that went further than his allegations
against the Government in his original report about the “sexed-up
dossier” on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction on the Today programme.

Some
BBC staff see Gaunt’s departure from the breakfast programme as a harsh
enforcement of the BBC guidelines when another high-profile presenter,
Vanessa Feltz, continues to write her column for the Daily Express.

However,
others say Gaunt is so outspoken over current affairs that his
newspaper column could compromise the station’s breakfast show.

Gaunt
was unavailable to comment, but last month made clear how pleased he
was to be taking the helm at the breakfast show: “I am overjoyed at
being asked to come back to broadcast in Coventry.

“I’ve had a look around the studios and I can honestly say that the BBC is back bigger and better than before.

I’m a Coventry kid, and I and the rest of the team are determined that this will be Coventry and Warwickshire’s station.”

A
BBC spokesman said: “We are sorry to announce that Jon Gaunt is
stepping down from the breakfast show at BBC Coventry and Warwickshire
in order to take up an offer to write for a national newspaper.
However, we are delighted that he will be staying with the station to
present a new non-news and non-current affairs show on Saturday
mornings. We are also pleased to announce that Liz Kershaw will be
taking over the breakfast show.”

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