Richard Madeley condemned for ‘racist’ question to MP Layla Moran about Hamas attack on Israel

On the left is a picture o Layla Moran MP appearing on Good Morning Britain. On the right is Richard Madeley in a screenshot from his interview with the MP.

Richard Madeley is facing backlash after he asked British-Palestinian MP Layla Moran if her family knew Hamas was planning a terrorist attack against Israel. 

The Good Morning Britain host has been accused of “racism” by politicians and commentators after he asked the Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon if her “family connections” in Gaza had prior knowledge of the attack.

Moran, who is the first out pansexual MP in the House of Commons, appeared on the ITV breakfast show on Tuesday (17 October) to discuss the Israel-Hamas conflict and the direct impact it is having on her loved ones in the region. 

War broke out after Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on 7 October. They sent thousands of rockets raining down on cities and towns in central and southern parts of the country, and armed fighters crossed the border, gunning down civilians and taking hostages.

In the days since, more than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel and 3,500 more injured, while in Gaza – following lethal retaliation by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government – at least 3,000 Palestinians have been killed, with 12,000 more wounded.

During the Good Morning Britain segment, Moran told Madeley and Susanna Reid that her family have taken refuge in a church after their home was bombed and do not have access to food, water or electricity – Israel has shut off supplies.  

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In response, Madeley asked: “With your family connections in Gaza, did you have any indication of what was going to happen 10 days ago… was there any word on the street?”

Moran was visibly stunned by the question, before regaining her composure and responding: “Not this, not this. Everyone, everyone has been surprised first of all by the timing and sophistication and the way that it’s happened.” 

Viewers were quick to criticise the veteran television presenter on social media for the question, describing it as insensitive and uncalled for, while others compared him to the tactless comedy character Alan Partridge. 

Ash Sarkar, a political commentator and editor for Novara Media, wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter): “This is no different from asking British Jews if they have any special warning about settlers attacking Palestinians. Outright racism from Richard Madeley.”

Anti-racism campaigner Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu wrote that Madeley “equated” Moran and her family to Hamas. “He’s implying all Palestinians have Hamas on speed dial and knew before the atrocity happened but didn’t stop it. 

“He’s blaming them on national television with a straight face.” 

Baroness Hussein-Ece, a Lib Dem peer in the House of Lords, labelled the question both “offensive” and “ignorant” while Liz Jarvis, who is campaigning to be the next Lib Dem MP for Eastleigh, in Hampshire, described it as appalling. 

Madeley’s question was also described as “disgraceful” by Labour MP Florence Eshalomi, who added: “Solidarity with Layla Moran for having to endure this racist line of questioning.”

Following the criticism, a spokesperson for Good Morning Britain said in a statement: “Richard is sorry that he has upset viewers with his question to Layla Moran. His intention was to understand the mood and atmosphere among the civilian population of Gaza immediately before the attacks.

“He did not mean to imply that she or her family might have had any prior knowledge of the attacks.”