Former BBC News presenter Jon Sopel has revealed details of a conversation he had with Huw Edwards before he was named as the suspended presenter at the centre of allegations.
On Wednesday evening, after days of claims emerging, Edwards’s wife Vicky Flind released a statement on his behalf, revealing he was the presenter who was claimed to have paid a young person more than £35,000 for sexually explicit images, among other allegations.
In her statement, Flind said that her husband was ‘suffering from serious mental health issues’ and ‘is now receiving in-patient hospital care where he’ll stay for the foreseeable future’.
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The likes of Dan Walker, Piers Morgan and Alistair Campbell have since spoken out and expressed their concern for Edwards, while Sopel yesterday lashed out at coverage of the scandal, saying: ‘This is an awful and shocking episode, where there was no criminality, but perhaps a complicated private life.
‘That doesn’t feel very private now. I hope that will give some cause to reflect. They really need to. I wish @thehuwedwards well.’
He’s now shared a conversation he had with Edwards before the 61-year-old was hospitalised.
Speaking on Thursday’s Good Morning Britain, Sopel said: ‘We’ve had contact, obviously not since he has 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, and I think that he is just, I’m sure anyone who knows him is just wishing him well.’
Sopel went on to say that Edwards, who he has known for more than three decades, who used to ‘compete against each other to get up the ladder at the BBC’, is ‘incredibly funny’ with ‘an acid wit’.
He said: ‘He can be a complicated person to deal with, I just think if you’re entering Huw’s orbit, he’s very defensive of his own territory, so I wouldn’t say we’re close friends but I thought that some of the coverage about someone’s private life, which is complicated and possibly a bit messy and that some might find distasteful, I don’t see what it’s got to do with anyone else.’
Elsewhere, Sopel said he hopes Edwards will return to his broadcasting role.
He added: ‘If at the end of this, what you are left with is someone who had some personal struggles about who he was, what he was, how he lived his life, and he made some ill considered judgements along the way, I think it would be such a shame if such a talented and gifted broadcaster, and the way he navigates state occasions and the big events and reads the news with such authority, if that is lost, I think it will be a great loss.
‘I hope he gets better, and I hope that some way, somehow, he’s back, providing that nothing else comes out that we don’t know about.’
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV1.
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