Good Morning Britain wasn’t on television screens for long this morning because of the Rugby World Cup coverage, but during the two hours it did air, presenter Piers Morgan caused a storm when he got into an extremely heated debate with the Extinction Rebellion founder over the climate change protests which are currently dominating the streets of London.
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Members of Extinction Rebellion, an environmental pressure group with the aim of using civil disobedience to compel government action on climate change, were shown on a live video interview with two protestors who had been on the streets of the capital city since 6am this morning.
Piers and Susanna they were joined by Skeena Rathor, a Labour district councillor and member of Extinction Rebellion as well as former Metropolitan police Chief Mike Neville in the studio.
Piers was keen to ascertain whether or not Skeena “practiced what she preached“ and if protestors should focus on reducing their own carbon footprint in order to make a bigger impact, instead of blocking streets, causing widespread disruption and taking up police resources.
But it quickly became apparent to those watching at home how Skeena had made a u-turn in regards to her own opinion and Piers was quick to brand her a “hypocrite”.
After showing the guests a series of videos and images of protestors dancing in the street, and queuing up to order food in McDonalds, Piers remarked: “I don’t hear any protests.”
Piers Morgan rages at Extinction Rebellion founder ‘Practice what you preach!
Skeena argued how there were over 600 arrests within the first two days of the event, despite claiming it to be a “mass peaceful non-violent protest”.
“Why are you [protestors] wasting police resources? Why provoke the Metropolitan police who are already under so much pressure?” Susanna asked.
“The government are not listening,” Skeena said. “The public need to be told the truth. We want to disrupt business as usual.”
Piers then turned to Skeena and said: “How did you get here this morning?”
“Your [GMB] car picked me up,” she commented and then he turned his attention to finding out whether she engaged in as many eco-friendly practices as she encouraged others to do.
“Ok, in a car. Have you got a TV at home?” Piers continued and Skeena asked: “Can you tell me the point you’re trying to make Piers?”
GMB: Piers got extremely frustrated
“Answer my question! Do you have a TV at home?” The presenter said, but Skeena diverted: “Again Piers we’re not talking about the real issue. I don’t think that’s relevant.”
“With respect, answer my question, do you have a TV at home? Do your kids use iPads and computers? Yes or no? Can you answer these questions? Do you walk your kids to school?” Piers grilled.
After strumbling over a few words, Skeena said: “It’s not relevant to the planet emergency.”
“Do you see the problem with all this? You go on about ‘My kids can’t get out of bed because they’re all so terrified,’ I’m not surprised they’re terrified because your mum’s telling them everyday the planet’s about to end, and yet, I bet your own carbon footprint, for all the stuff I’ve just mentioned is terrible,” Piers added.
“So why don’t you give up your computers, give up your television, give up your air conditioning, walk your kids to school, get a bike to the studio. Why don’t you practice what you preach!” The presenter raged.
“It’s not about individual carbon footprint,” Skeena remarked.
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“You bang on about it, but you do not practice what you preach! Hypocritical lies! Start with your own carbon footprint, but you do one thing and say another,” Piers hit back.
But Skeena defended: “It’s about a system wide issue, the government telling the truth.”
“Prince Harry said everyone’s footprint counts, is he wrong?” Piers introduced into the debate.
When Skeena finally said no to his question, Piers exploded with confusion: “You just said it [personal carbon footprint] doesn’t count in terms of solving the issue? You literally just said the opposite!”
Skeena tried to explain the u-turn she just made, but Piers was having none of it. “Try answering one serious question.
“It’s my show, with Susanna and Charlotte. Can you please stop talking? You’re not answering a single question! Does your personal carbon footprint matter or not?”
GMB: Piers got frustrated with Skeena
No matter how many times Piers raged at the guest with the same question, she refused to answer.
“You won’t answer my question!” The journalist remarked. “Answer the question! You just said everyone’s footprint doesn’t count. Unbelievable. I’m really frustrated.”
“When Prince Harry said every footprint counts -“ Piers referred back to his original point but was cut off when Skeena said: “Everything we do does matter!”
“Total waste of time!” Piers hit back. “You are guzzling and burning up the atmosphere. Rank hypocrite, that’s why you won’t answer the question.”
“How many times do I have to ask a simple question,” he added.
After several attempts, Mike finally got to have a word and said: “Hundreds of police officers are sitting around waiting, they are sat in Central London unable to fight crime, investigate burglaries and knife crime.”
After the debate finished the breakfast show went to an advertisement break, and when it returned, Piers added: “I would respect you [Skeena] more if you just admitted it.”
Those watching at home were divided over the behaviour shown by Piers and the intense grilling he gave the guest.
Nevertheless, it sparked great conversation online. One tweet said: “@piersmorgan on fire this morning on @GMB! These protestors do need to practice what they preach! If every single persons ‘carbon footprint’ is important then DON’T do the things you are protesting about! #gmb.”
A second remarked: “@piersmorgan ripping into #ExtinctionRebellion founder this morning and quite right so, such a hypocrite, causing chaos, wasting police rehouses yet her own carbon footprint is no different to anyone else’s #GMB #Hypocrite.”
“@piersmorgan go on Piers! About time someone grilled these hypocrites #GMB,” another added.
GMB: Skeena Rathor and Mike Neville were today’s guests
Someone else said: “These eco worries worries believe that they can take a couple of weeks off work to disrupt ordinary people who need to go to work. Well done @piersmorgan challenging well #GMB.”
While others were less convinced about Piers’ approach to interviewing.
“How can @piersmoran get away with speaking to people like that #gmb,” one commented.
Another added: “You’re asking questions that are not relevant to her protest Piers, you’re trying to make her cause seem daft #gmb.”
“#GMB learnt absolutely nothing about her protest… let her speak,” someone else remarked.
A fourth said: “#GMB @piersmorgan shocking journalist once again. Let’s berate a woman into answering a non relevant question in order to try and undermine her wider point. So if nobody’s perfect let’s do nothing?”
Today is the third day the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations take place in London.
Nearly 600 people were arrested on the first two days of the group’s two-week protest, with activists attaching themselves to building and blocking roads.
God Morning Britain airs weekday mornings at 6am on ITV.