TV host Fiona Phillips claims Esther McVey and Lorraine Kelly’s feud began when Tory MP ‘boasted to colleagues she’d been promoted to present GMTV permanently… when actually she was just covering maternity leave’
- Fiona Phillips says ‘ambitious’ McVey claimed she had replaced her on GMTV
- Lorraine Kelly says she can’t remember interacting with McVey on ITV show
- Presenter claimed there were lots of people who got ready for show together
- Also slammed Tory leadership hopeful for voting against same-sex marriage
- Comes after awkward exchange between the pair on Good Morning Britain
Esther McVey (right) presented GMTV with Eamonn Holmes (centre) and covered for Fiona Phillips (left) while she was on maternity leave. They are pictured in 1999
Fiona Phillips has claimed Esther McVey and Lorraine Kelly’s feud began when the MP wrongly claimed she had been promoted to present GMTV permanently.
The 55-year-old TV host told MailOnline today that ‘ambitious’ McVey claimed she had replaced her on the old ITV programme permanently – but was actually just covering maternity leave.
Phillips said: ‘Esther said that she had been promoted. But that is an absolute lie. She was only on there because she was covering my maternity leave.
‘During which I was asked several times by colleagues pleading to know when I was coming back. Esther was never presenting there permanently. She was at Channel Five I think at the time and she was jobbing, just trying to get work.
‘But I don’t know because I wasn’t there. She said she had been promoted. But she wasn’t even there to be promoted. You don’t embellish your CV.’
Phillips spoke after Kelly hit out at McVey in their continuing ‘feud’ today, rubbishing claims the MP was promoted above her and slamming her views on LGBT rights.
Esther McVey is pictured on the GMTV couch when she worked as a co-presenter in 1999
Kelly disputed the Tory leadership hopeful’s claims their awkward TV exchange was down to her getting to co-host GMTV with Eamonn Holmes in the 1990s.
She said she cannot remember ever interacting with the politician because lots of people were put in the same dressing room – while she had a separate show.
When probed on why she appeared stone-faced on Good Morning Britain yesterday, she admitted being ‘sick to the back teeth of the toxic political atmosphere’ and strongly disagreeing with McVey on the issue of LGBT rights.
After GMB presenter Piers Morgan joked that the bad blood was all down to Kelly ‘losing a love battle with Eamonn Holmes’, Kelly set the record straight.
McVey, 51, (pictured in her earlier days) worked as a TV host for several years before she got into politics, including a year-long stint as a co-presenter on GMTV
The daytime TV star shook her head and looked shocked as she watched a clip of the Tory leadership hopeful telling a press conference that the pair used to share a dressing room.
She said: ‘There is no battle! I’m baffled [by what McVey said]. I have had my own show since 1992 and I don’t think she joined until five years later.
‘As far as dressing rooms go… It was just a little room that everyone shared and we got ready in. It wasn’t a dressing room with couches – it wasn’t palatial at all.’
Prodding her further, Kelly said, exasperated: ‘I’ll be genuinely honest with you, I don’t remember, It was such a long time ago. I had my own show so there was no interaction.
Esther McVey speaks at an event to launch a Conservative leadership bid in London yesterday
‘Yesterday I just got sick to the back teeth of the whole toxic political atmosphere and I thought I’ve had enough of this. I strongly disagree with her on LGBT rights.
Back in the day: Lorraine is pictured during her time on GMTV, where she worked alongside McVey for a year in 1999
‘And they’ve been going round in circles on Brexit for two years and it’s got to stop.’
She added in a nod to the Scottish Conservative leader’s appearance on this morning’s GMB: ‘I’m really disappointed that Ruth Davidson is not standing. She’s one of the few human beings in politics right now.’
A source close to Kelly told The Times the tension between them is down to her voting record on same-sex marriage.
While McVey voted against it in parliament, Kelly has been branded an ‘honorary gay’ by Attitude Magazine and was given an award for her support of the LGBT community at their 2015 award ceremony.
Speaking at the press conference for her leadership launch, broadcast on ITV News yesterday, McVey said her promotion to flank Holmes on the show irked Kelly.
Asked by a reporter present: ‘What went down between you and Lorraine?’ the 51-year-old answered with a laugh: ‘Well we used to share a dressing room.
‘She used to be the programme afterwards, and obviously she used to be partnered with Eamonn Holmes, then I was promoted to be partnering with Eamonn Holmes.’
She added: ‘But, she’s great and it was a great show, and I can’t believe it, I think it was 20 years ago I did that show, but never mind, it was really good at the time, it was really good fun.’
The now Tory MP co-hosted the show while Phillips was on maternity leave in 1999.
The comments come after the pair’s awkward encounter on Good Morning Britain yesterday when Kelly appeared to snub her former colleague.
Twitter erupted with people talking about the awkward exchange between the ex-colleagues
Lorraine Kelly films for her morning show Lorraine, which airs after Good Morning Britain
McVey was grilled by GMB hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid on her party’s recent drug confessions, Brexit, abortion rights and much more when she went on the show this morning.
Lorraine is pictured on the GMTV sofa. She went on to have several of her own shows
After the interview GMB cut live to the Lorraine studio where Piers asked host Kelly whether she remembered McVey from the days they both worked at ITV.
Kelly gave a short ‘Yep. Yes I do,’ before quickly launching into a plug for her show.
But presenter Morgan decided to probe further, asking: ‘So you got on with Esther then Lorraine’, to which she replied: ‘I don’t remember, I don’t remember, I don’t remember at all. It was a long time ago.’
There was an awkward laugh in both studios before Morgan added: ‘Ooh if looks could kill.’
McVey worked as a TV host for several years before she got into politics, including a year-long stint as a co-presenter on GMTV.
Kelly helped launch the show in 1993 and had her own spot before she got her own programmes Lorraine, Live, LK Today and Lorraine.
The pair never presented together. McVey served as maternity cover for regular host Philips and worked alongside Kelly on the show.
Esther McVey is pictured on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC One on Sunday where she was quizzed on her party leadership bid
Viewers quickly took to social media to comment on the awkward exchange and apparent ‘beef’ between the ex-colleagues.
One person branded it ‘the most brutal thing I’ve ever witnessed’, while another said Kelly ‘clearly isn’t a fan’ of the former work and pensions secretary.
McVey made no mention of the encounter on Twitter after the show, posting only to confirm she had submitted her nomination for the Conservative Party leadership race.
It was McVey’s second snub of the day. She also had her ‘Scouse privileges’ revoked by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson.
After Esther McVey’s interview (left) yesterday, ITV’s Good Morning Britain cut live to the Lorraine studio where Piers Morgan asked host Lorraine Kelly (right) on whether she remembered McVey from the days they both worked at ITV
Say it in spots like Lorraine in a polka dot jumpsuit from Next
Lorraine Kelly’s style has come a long way since the GMTV days.
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The Labour Mayor has written to all Tory MPs asking them not to back the former Work and Pensions Secretary.
Kelly has been branded an ‘honorary gay’ by Attitude Magazine and was given an award for her support of the LGBT community at their 2015 award ceremony (pictured)
He tweeted a mock up of Ms Mcvey’s ‘Scouse privileges’ card – with a large ‘revoked’ stamp across it.
‘Tory austerity has had a terrible effect on Liverpool. This city stands for community, fairness & justice. At DWP & as Tory Party Leader hopeful, Ester McVey’s record flies in face of that proud tradition. Scousers don’t do that to Scousers,’ he said.
Kelly, 59, dodged a huge tax bill earlier this year when a judge ruled she works on a freelance basis for ITV because her ‘Lorraine persona’ is just a front.
In 2016 HM Revenue and Customs presented her with an income tax bill for almost £900,000, plus national insurance contributions of over £300,000.
But she argued national insurance shouldn’t have been deducted from her income under the PAYE system.
She said she had been ‘freelance’ since 1992 and had since then worked for the BBC, Channel 4, Scottish TV, Sky and ITV, also writing weekly columns for the Sun newspaper.
MailOnline has contacted McVey’s spokesman for comment on the claims by Phillips.
The very differing career paths of two GMTV ‘rivals’: How Lorraine Kelly went on to become one of Britain’s most popular daytime stars, while Esther McVey set her sights on running the country
Lorraine Kelly and Esther McVey only crossed paths for around a year in 1999 when they both worked for ITV’s morning show GMTV.
After their awkward TV encounter on Good Morning Britain this week, MailOnline looks at how the rivals’ careers panned out very differently.
Kelly’s TV career stretches back to 1984 when she got the job of Scotland correspondent for TV-am, which aired on ITV.
Off the back of her coverage of the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 she later anchored the show’s Sunday programme before moving to GMTV when it launched in 1993.
Kelly helped get the show off the ground by presenting a number of items for the show until she went on maternity leave in June 1994.
She was dropped by the broadcaster for the main presenting job and returned in November that year with a ‘mum and a baby slot’.
Kelly was later given the host job for Nine O Clock Live, which proved so popular the name was changed to Lorraine Live and the slot was moved to 25 minutes earlier to maximise viewers.
Lorraine Live ran separately to GMTV and was broadcast directly after the main show at 8.35am, later changing its name to GMTV with Lorraine.
When GMTV was axed in 2000, Lorraine’s show became simply ‘Lorraine’ and continued to air after the 6am slot, now taken by Daybreak.
Kelly continued to work for the early-morning programmes Daybreak and Good Morning Britain until 2014 when she left to focus solely on her own show.
In 2016 she became embroiled in a battle with the taxman over claims she worked freelance for ITV and her ‘Lorraine’ persona is just for show.
HM Revenue and Customs presented her with an income tax bill for almost £900,000, plus national insurance contributions of over £300,000.
But she argued that she had created her own ‘persona’ and ‘brand’ and that is what broadcasters wanted when they took her on.
A judge ruled in her favour and she won £1.2million under rules for the self-employed.
Elsewhere in her career, Kelly has worked on shows for the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
She has guest presented the later ITV daytime show This Morning, as well as Have I Got News For You and Never Mind The Buzzcocks on the BBC and The Friday Night Project on Channel 4.
Kelly has partnered up with a number of charities including the Missing People’s Charity, Worldwide Cancer Research and Comic Relief.
She was given an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2012 for her services to charity and the armed forces.
The presenter has been branded a ‘gay icon’ and was given an honorary award at the 2015 Attitude Awards for her support of the LGBT community.
McVey studied journalism at City University in London and embarked on a media career before heading into politics.
A three-minute clip of her on My Liverpool propelled her to the BBC.
She started out as a co-presenter of the BBC’s summer holiday programme But First This in 1991, before presenting and producing several other shows.
McVey worked on BBC One’s science entertainment series How Do They Do That, moving over to Channel 5 to work on Company and Channel 4 for its legal series Nothing But The Truth, where she worked with Brexit Party politician Ann Widdecombe.
In 1999 she went over to ITV to work on their morning show GMTV where she co-presented the show with Eamonn Holmes as maternity cover for regular Fiona Phillips.
When her media days were over she moved back to her native Liverpool to set up her own business, which she called Making It UK, providing training for small businesses.
Despite growing up in working class Liverpool, McVey was a long-standing Conservative supporter.
As part of a Thatcherite group called Conservative Way Forward she was fielded as a candidate in the 2005 General Election to represent West Wirral, but she lost to Labour’s Stephen Hesford by just under 2,000 votes.
She tried again in 2010 and finally managed to beat Labour with a 2,436 majority to become the first Tory MP in Merseyside since 1997.
That year she worked as Parliamentary Private Secretary to then Employment Minister Chris Grayling.
From 2012 to 2013 she was Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Work and Pensions, under Iain Duncan Smith.
She became Minister for Disabled People under David Cameron before being promoted to Minister for Employment. She bore a large brunt of public anger over the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ while in this post.
In December 2013 she was made to pay back £300 for using House of Commons note paper and postage for a Conservative campaigning purposes.
She briefly had the portfolio of Health and Safety Executive but had it taken away when a company was found to be in major breach of health and safety laws under her leadership.
In 2014 she was forced to apologise for attacking the Wirral Labour Party during a memorial service for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster in her native Merseyside.
Labour’s John McDonnell reportedly discussed a ‘sack Esther McVey Day’ among party activists with some arguing they should ‘lynch the b*****’.
His comments were condemned but the next year she lost her seat to Labour’s Margaret Greenwood who won by 417 votes.
She worked for the British Transport Police until the 2017 snap General Election was called when McVey won the safe Tory seat of Tatton.
In January 2018 McVey was named Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, replacing Iain Duncan Smith.
Reports claimed she ‘misled’ the public over the pair’s rollout of the controversial benefit shake-up Universal Credit.
She quit in November citing anger over the Government’s Brexit plans and was replaced by former Home Secretary Amber Rudd who herself was forced to resign over the Windrush Scandal.
When Theresa May announced she would step down as Tory leader in 2019, McVey said she would run for the top job.
She admitted she was an ‘outsider’ in the 10-man race, but she is ‘used to being an outsider’ as a Conservative in the North West.