Piers Morgan quits ITV breakfast programme Good Morning Britain

Controversial broadcaster Piers Morgan has decided to leave Good Morning Britain, the breakfast programme he co-hosted for six years, ITV has announced.

The 55-year-old is stepping down from his role following a dispute in relation to his comments about Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, according to reports.

The journalist has directed a continuous slew of criticism towards Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, particularly following their decision to step back as senior royals last year to pursue independence and financial freedom in America. 

He also took exception to the couple's bombshell, tell-all interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey, during which the Duchess made a series of shocking claims against the Royal Family and stunning revelations into her life as a former working royal. 

  • CBS Presents Oprah with Meghan and Harry can be watched in full on ThreeNow.

"Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain," the television network said in a statement on Tuesday (local time).

"ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add."

The network announced the decision after Ofcom, Britain's broadcasting and communications regulator, said it was investigating Morgan's comments after receiving 41,000 complaints in relation to Monday's episode.

On Monday's show, Morgan said he "didn't believe a word" the pregnant Duchess had said during the candid interview. 

The Duchess revealed to Winfrey that she had suicidal thoughts as a working royal, but was refused help by senior Buckingham Palace officials - a claim Morgan questioned.

"Who did you go to?" he said. "What did they say to you? I'm sorry, I don't believe a word she said, Meghan Markle. I wouldn't believe it if she read me a weather report.

"The fact that she's fired up this onslaught against our Royal Family, I think is contemptible."

Following a public outcry, Morgan doubled-down on his comments during Tuesday's programme, saying he still had "serious concerns about the veracity" of Markle's claims. However, he admitted it was "not for [him] to question if she felt suicidal".

A spokesperson for Ofcom confirmed to BBC News that the regulator was investigating the comments made on Monday's programme.

"We have launched an investigation into Monday's episode of Good Morning Britain under our harm and offence rules."

Morgan also engaged in a heated debate with Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a lawyer and activist, who appeared as a guest via video-link on Monday's programme. He claimed the couple were "spray-gunning [Harry's] family on global television" and "piling hurt on the Queen" by partaking in a "disingenuous" interview while Prince Philip, Prince Harry's 99-year-old grandfather, recovers from a heart procedure in hospital. 

Dr Mos-Shogbamimu, incensed by Morgan's comments, called the host a "disappointment" who uses his platform to issue "bigoted, sexist, racist and misogynistic attacks on Meghan Markle".

Morgan dismissed her argument as "a load of race-baiting nonsense".

His departure from Good Morning Britain also follows an on-air clash with weather presenter Alex Beresford, who criticised Morgan on Tuesday (local time) for his "diabolical behaviour" in regards to the Duchess, prompting Morgan to walk off set. He returned within 10 minutes.

The journalist has also penned an acrimonious column in the Daily Mail, in which he further questioned the authenticity of Markle's claims, including her battle with mental illness.  

"Every word, every facial expression carefully planned and choreographed," Morgan wrote.

"It's not late, someone should nominate it for the Oscars."

Markle's claim that an undisclosed member of the Royal Family had expressed concerns about the skin colour of the couple's son, Archie, was dismissed by Morgan as the "racism bomb". 

Last month, the now-former presenter blasted the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in another brutal rant for the Daily Mail, branding the couple as "shameless hypocrites" for sharing an intimate pregnancy photograph with the newspapers they "supposedly detest". 

"[Harry and Meghan] just want the right to use the media to promote themselves when it suits them, and trash and ban them when it doesn't," he wrote. "It's quite clear that the pair of them crave attention and publicity like ravenous jackals gorging on the carcass of a freshly slain gazelle."

Morgan began hosting Good Morning Britain in 2015 alongside Susanna Reid and has worked for publications including the Daily Mail, The Sun, and the Daily Mirror.

Although Morgan has yet to formally comment on his departure, he did share an image of a ticking clock to his Twitter.