Holly Willoughby ‘KEEPS her M&S job amid queue-jump row with Phillip Schofield as retailer confirms they’ve extended her contract’ – after calls for pair to be sacked from This Morning
The retailer confirmed that they had extended the 41-year-old presenter’s contract with them following the uproar surrounding allegations she and Phil ‘skipped the queue’ to see the Queen lying in state last week – claims they both strongly denied.
Holly and Phil have been the subject of online abuse in the wake of the claims and an online petition to have the duo fired from their lucrative presenting roles has hit more than 66,000 signatures in six days.
Staying put: Holly Willoughby’s job at M&S is secure amid the ongoing queue-jump row with her This Moring co-host Phillip Schofield (Holly pictured modelling for the brand in March)
But while her presenting job on ITV may be in jeopardy, her deal with M&S is still firmly in place according to reports, with Holly originally signing up to be their brand ambassador in September 2018.
An M&S spokesperson told The Sun: ‘I can confirm we have extended our current contract with Holly, and we will continue to work with her.’
It follows claims that Marks & Spencer have had some discussions about Willoughby’s deal with them, as they had been concerned amid the backlash.
Job: The retailer confirmed that they had extended her contract following allegations she and Phil ‘skipped the queue’ to see the Queen lying in state last week – claims they both denied
Amid the fallout the pair have been receiving support from the hosts of Friday’s show, Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary, with MailOnline understanding that they have been ‘in regular touch’ with the pair all this week.
Holly and Phil have not commented on the matter since issuing a statement on Tuesday’s show in which they insisted they ‘did not skip the queue’.
Holly has been relying on support from her friends to get her through the past few days. And despite the fact that calls for Holly and Phil to be sacked could land Alison and Dermot the role as full-time hosts, sources say they have remained loyal.
Phil and Holly are reportedly paid as much as £600,000 for presenting the daytime show from Mondays to Thursdays, with Alison and Dermot filling in for Friday’s show.
Shocking: Holly and Phil have been the subject of online abuse in the wake of the claims and an online petition to have the duo fired from their lucrative presenting roles has hit more than 66,000 signatures in six days
Ambassador: While her presenting job on ITV may be in jeopardy, her deal with M&S is still firmly in place according to reports, with Holly originally signing up to be their brand ambassador in September 2018.
Although neither ITV, Holly or Phil have said they will be changing the presenter line-up, that hasn’t stopped speculation brewing on who would take on the top spot if the duo were to leave This Morning.
According to William Hill, Vernon Kay and Rochelle Humes are the 2/1 favourites to replace the pair as lead presenter. Dermot is 4/1, the same price as Josie Gibson, with Alison, Craig Doyle, Ruth Langsford and Mollie King available at 5/1.
However, the speculation hasn’t caused any tension between the stars, with a source telling MailOnline: ‘Alison, Dermot, Phil and Holly are incredibly close and tight-knit.
‘When things started to blow up over the weekend they were in touch straight away to offer their support. Alison, in particular, has spoken many times with Holly over the phone and been a real rock.
Fantastic four: Amid the backlash Holly and Phil have been receiving support from the hosts of Friday’s show, Alison and Dermot O’Leary, with MailOnline understanding that they have been ‘in regular touch’ with the pair all this week
‘Dermot and Alison, along with the rest of the senior members of the ITV team, all knew they were going to be visiting Westminster and there is a sense of shock and bewilderment at how things have blown up.’
This Morning insiders believe they are now ‘through the worst of the crisis’ but ITV bosses are still taking steps to make sure Phil and Holly get any support they need.
‘ITV has a duty of care to look after all of its presenters and some of the abuse that Phil and Holly have received on social media is absolutely horrendous,’ the source added.
‘People have gone way too far in some of the things they are saying and senior management have kept in regular touch with Phil and Holly to check they are OK. That will carry on until next week when they return to the programme.
‘Those working on the show hope, by then, things will have blown over and that they will be able to start to put this nightmare to bed. But only time will tell.’
A clearer view: A photo of Westminster Abbey – highlighting where the media box is, where the public queue is and where Holly and Phil appeared to be walking
The news comes after it emerged that Holly and Phillip were keen to issue a public apology over ‘queue-gate’, but were talked out of it after taking legal advice.
A statement was issued by ITV on Saturday and later broadcast on Tuesday’s This Morning, which was voiced over by Holly but both stopped short of using the word ‘sorry’ – a move which has left many viewers furious.
A source told MailOnline: ‘Every word of the statement was poured over. In the end, it’s spectacularly backfired.
‘Initially Holly and Phillip were prepared to say sorry if they’d upset anyone as they both just desperately want to draw a line under the affair. But they were advised strongly not to go down that road of saying sorry.’
Not enough: A statement was issued by ITV on Saturday and later broadcast on Tuesday’s This Morning (pictured on the show) which was voiced over by Holly, 41, but both stopped short of using the word ‘sorry’
Such has been the backlash to the pair that TV insiders are raising ‘serious concerns’ about the presenters’ wellbeing after they appeared tearful and muted on This Morning this week.
In the first episode of the show since the row unfolded, Holly and Phil, 60, strongly denied viewers’ claims they were ‘too posh to queue’ and said they had been in Westminster Hall on Friday ‘strictly for the purpose of reporting on the event.’
The voiceover also hammered home the point, ‘Please know that we would never jump a queue.’
However some social media users were not convinced and there have been calls for the pair to issue an apology.
ITV has since doubled down in the row over footage which seemed to show them filing past the Queen’s coffin – but Holly is said to have been hit particularly hard by online backlash and feels they have been ‘left out to dry’, sources previously said.
Channel bosses are standing by the presenters and have raised ‘real and serious’ concerns about their welfare following the ‘relentless’ online trolling, The Mirror reports.
The popular TV hosts have faced growing fury after images of them appearing to ‘skip the line’ emerged on Friday while tens of thousands of mourners patiently waited for more than 12 hours to pay their respects to Her Majesty.
On the move: Holly and Phil were seen in a video posted on TikTok leaving Westminster Hall after they carried out filming and were accused of jumping the queue
Viewers tweeted accusations the hosts were ‘too posh to queue’ and a change.org petition to axe the presenters has surpassed 60,000 signatures as viewers appear to reject the stars’ bid to draw a line under the scandal.
Footage inside Westminster Abbey appeared to show Holly and Phil, 60, walking along an area separate from the media box – but ITV has since insisted the stars did not join mourners in filing past the coffin.
Following the images circulating online, comparisons were quickly made to other celebrities who queued for hours with the general public – including England football legend David Beckham and even Holly and Phil’s ITV colleague Susanna Reid, from Good Morning Britain.
Gaining traction: The change.org petition calling for the presenters to be axed is getting more and more signatures as time goes on
An ITV spokeswoman has insisted the presenters did not file past the Queen’s coffin.
The spokeswoman told MailOnline: ‘This Morning had press accreditation and like other media, Phillip and Holly were escorted to work from the press gallery by government staff. They did not file past The Queen’s coffin.
‘They were there alongside a host of other broadcasters and national press outlets for an item that was broadcast on Tuesday’s (20th) show. Any allegations of improper behaviour are categorically untrue.’
Snap happy: Holly and Phil outside the Houses of Parliament. The pair say none of the broadcasters and journalists at the Queen’s lying-in-state took anyone’s place in the queue