Huw Edwards 'feels let down' as BBC resumes investigation into allegations

ITV News Correspondent Rebecca Barry reports on the scandal from outside the BBC's London headquarters

A former colleague of Huw Edwards has said the BBC presenter has felt "very angry" and "let down" by the coverage of allegations against him.

The BBC has resumed its investigation into claims faced by newsreader Edwards, whose wife, Vicky Flind, said is receiving in-patient hospital care after naming him as the star accused of inappropriate conduct with young people, including paying for sexually explicit images.

ITV News understands that TalkTV is working on a three-part documentary with the parents of the young person first reported about by The Sun newspaper. The documentary is expected to come out at a later date.

Jon Sopel, who worked with Edwards for decades before leaving the corporation last year, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain he had been in touch with Edwards before he went to hospital.

He said: “We’ve had contact, obviously not since he’s been hospitalised... He was very angry, I think felt very let down by what happened in The Sun, furious with their coverage, not overly impressed with the BBC’s coverage either.

"I’m sure anyone who knows him is just wishing him well.

"Huw I have known for over three decades, when we were young political correspondents competing against each other to get up the ladder at the BBC.

“He is incredibly funny, has got an acid wit... He can be a complicated person to deal with."

Sopel went on to describe his ex-colleague as a "talented and gifted broadcaster" who has "made some ill-considered judgments along the way."

"This is a really tragic situation," Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner tells ITV News

Ms Flind said her husband was "suffering from serious mental health issues" and was receiving treatment in a statement issued on Wednesday evening.

She revealed his identity shortly after the Met said no criminal offence had been committed by Edwards and that no further police action would be taken "at this time".

The police decision allows an internal BBC investigation to resume, after the force had asked the corporation to pause its own probe so officers could carry out inquiries.

BBC chief Tim Davie will be questioned in Parliament next week about the corporation’s leadership following the scandal.

The director-general, acting chairwoman Dame Elan Closs Stephens and policy director Clare Sumner have been called to appear before the Lords Communications Committee on Tuesday.

BBC News anchor Huw Edwards prepares for a broadcast outside 10 Downing Street in 2010. Credit: PA

The peers will raise a range of issues, including "in light of recent events, what concerns have been raised about the adequacy of the BBC's governance arrangements and how it is addressing these".In a message to staff, Mr Davie said that the corporation’s "immediate concern is our duty of care to all involved".

After Edwards was named as the presenter at the centre of the allegations, multiple BBC colleagues and high-profile media personalities spoke out to support him.

Meanwhile on Wednesday evening, BBC Newsnight reported new claims from one current and one former BBC worker, who said they had received "inappropriate messages" from Edwards, "some late at night and signed off with kisses".

Both said there was "a reluctance among junior staff to complain to managers about the conduct of high-profile colleagues in case it adversely affected their careers," Newsnight said.

ITV News has approached the BBC for comment on the latest allegations.

The Sun, which first reported allegations against the then unnamed presenter last week claiming they had paid a young person tens of thousands of pounds for explicit images, said it had no plans to publish further allegations and would co-operate with the BBC’s internal investigation process.

In Thursday’s edition, The Sun's front page focuses on Ms Flind's statement and the paper says Edwards is facing further claims from BBC colleagues over "suggestive messages" sent on social media.

One former editor of The Sun said the newspaper had "inflicted terror" on the newsreader "despite no evidence of any criminal offence" and now faced "a crisis".

David Yelland, who was in charge at the paper from 1998 to 2003, wrote on Twitter: "I wish @thehuwedwards well.

"The Sun inflicted terror on Huw despite no evidence of any criminal offence.

"This is no longer a BBC crisis, it is a crisis for the paper. Huw’s privacy must now be respected.

"Social media also needs speedy reform."

Newsreader Huw Edwards. Credit: PA

In his internal memo, Mr Davie said the words from Ms Flind were "a reminder that the last few days have seen personal lives played out in public".

"At the heart of this are people and their families," his message said.

"This will no doubt be a difficult time for many after a challenging few days. I want to reassure you that our immediate concern is our duty of care to all involved."

Mr Davie also referenced an earlier request from the Metropolitan Police asking the corporation to pause its internal investigation, saying: "It is important we now continue with this work.

"I want to be clear that in doing so we will follow due process."

The Sun's Wednesday front page had run a story in which it claimed Edwards, who had not been identified at that point, had also broken lockdown rules during the coronavirus pandemic in 2021, to meet up with another young person.

The newspaper said it has seen messages which suggest he had travelled to see the 23-year-old in February 2021, after meeting them on a dating website the previous November.

Edwards' former BBC colleague, the journalist Jon Sopel, told ITV News on Wednesday night: "We now know there was no illegality. So what are you left with? Someone’s private life.

"It would be a crying shame if this is the last we see of Huw on TV when the allegations have turned out to be not that much."

Father-of-five Edwards is the BBC’s highest paid newsreader, with a pay bracket of £435,000–£439,999, putting him fourth on the top ten list, the corporation’s annual report revealed on Tuesday.

Edwards was the newsreader who announced the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II for the BBC, then anchored rolling news coverage throughout that day.

The presenter was last seen on BBC One’s News At Ten on July 5 when he co-presented a special edition live from Edinburgh as the King was honoured in the Scottish capital.

PA reports sources have told the news agency Edwards, 61, has not resigned from the BBC.

The statement from his wife, a TV producer who has worked on BBC's This Week politics show and ITV News political editor Robert Peston’s show, Peston, said: "Huw is suffering from serious mental health issues.

"As is well documented, he has been treated for severe depression in recent years.

"The events of the last few days have greatly worsened matters, he has suffered another serious episode and is now receiving in-patient hospital care where he’ll stay for the foreseeable future."

She said that once the presenter, who has worked for the BBC for four decades, was well enough, he "intends to respond to the stories that have been published" and added that her husband was first told there were allegations "being made against him last Thursday".

Ms Flind asked for privacy for the family and said: "I know that Huw is deeply sorry that so many colleagues have been impacted by the recent media speculation.

"We hope this statement will bring that to an end."

In a statement on Twitter, Peston praised Ms Flind as "the kindest and most decent woman".

"It has been difficult to feel what she and her family have been going through - and to read her statement that Huw has been hospitalised with acute depression," he said.

Edwards has previously spoken about his mental health, revealing in a documentary in 2021 he had bouts of depression which have left him "bedridden" since 2002.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...