OFCOM has launched an investigation into whether a GB News programme hosted by two Conservative MPs broke impartiality rules.

There have been 39 complaints in total about an edition of Esther McVey and Philip Davies’s show on March 11.

During the programme, the pair interviewed Chancellor Jeremy Hunt about his Budget.

The media watchdog said it would examine whether it complied with rules about politicians presenting programmes, and whether or not it included a sufficient range of views.

GB News has not commented on the investigation.

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It comes as SNP MP John Nicolson, writing exclusively for The National, said that Ofcom is “not up to the task” of protecting media freedom and impartiality.

The rules say politicians are not allowed to be newsreaders, interviewers or reporters in news programmes “unless, exceptionally, it is editorially justified”.

However, they are able to host current affairs shows so long as a range of views are reflected.

Whether or not Saturday Morning with Esther and Philip qualifies as a news or current affairs programme, and whether or not a broad enough range of opinions were expressed, is likely to be central to Ofcom’s eventual ruling.

“That will be the question – whether or not it is a news programme, or whether or not it is a wider opinion and current affairs show”, Ofcom chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes told a parliamentary committee on March 14.

Nicolson, who is a member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, told Dawes he thought it broke the rules.

The MP said: “Two MPs are interviewing, on a news channel, a Tory chancellor, about the news. That is a news interview it’s not a cooking programme.”

The interview was broadcast four days before Hunt delivered his Budget.

Announcing the investigation on Monday, an Ofcom spokesman said: “We are investigating whether this programme broke our rules requiring news and current affairs to be presented with due impartiality.

“Our investigation will look at the programme’s compliance with our rules on politicians presenting programmes, and whether it’s included an appropriately wide range of significant views relating to a matter of major political controversy or current public policy.”

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On Monday, Ofcom also announced it would not launch an investigation into an interview by Nadine Dorries with former prime minister Boris Johnson on TalkTV on February 3.

“We concluded that the programme was a non-news programme and therefore could be presented by a politician; and adequately reflected alternative viewpoints and provided sufficient context”, Ofcom said.